Fantasy sports is one of the digital market’s ultimate success stories, driven by strengthening digital infrastructure, growing investor interest, and a reaffirming legal status. What started as ESPN’s Super Selector has evolved into a full-blown industry with a thriving ecosystem.
How big is it, anyway? Let’s take a look.
Fantasy sports in numbers
As per the last count, fantasy sport was a preferred source of entertainment for over 10 Crore Indians. With cricket being a crowd-pulling sport, fantasy cricket has the lion’s share of followers. The FIFS-KPMG 2020 study states that the fantasy sports platforms raked up INR 2400 crores in revenue in FY 2020. That’s a staggering three-time upturn of INR 1460 crores from the previous FY.
If we go by INDIA TECH whitepaper’s information, the platforms drew upwards of INR 1,500 crores in foreign investments from 2018 to 2019. As the inflow is slated to grow in the coming years, the industry can expect further acceleration. For instance, as per a conservative estimate, the platforms collectively paid INR 445 crore in GST the previous year, and the same for FY 19 was INR166 crores.
What is it, anyway?
Call it an extension of a real sport played by real players in real conditions. The sport can be anything – cricket, football, kabaddi, tennis, or badminton. Specifications may vary from sport to sport and platform to platform, but the fundamentals remain the same. A user creates their virtual team with the real players from the upcoming match and pits it against fellow users. The players’ performance/actions on the ground earn the user points. A participant with the highest score wins the contest with cash and rewards.
How does it work?
Let’s suppose cricket games are underway. Now the fantasy sports platforms would invite subscribers to play. To this end, the subscribers are required to make modest deposits. Depending on the participants, a reward pool is put in place. Upon retaining a 15-30% cut, the platforms disburse the cash among winners. The platforms also coin it through third-party advertisements and league sponsorships. That’s a win-win situation for both the user and the platform.
Why is it exploding in popularity?
The reasons are many, including, but not limited to:
- Increasing digital usage with deeper penetration of gadgets and the internet
- Certain high courts terming fantasy sports a game of skill, making it legal
- Rising data availability and falling data costs make it easier to pursue
- The pandemic forced people indoors, increasing fantasy sports consumption