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Fantasy Sports is Intrinsic to Sports Growth in India

Shreoshree Chakrabarty December 9, 2020
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Harsh Jain, CEO & Co-Founder, Dream11 & Dream Sports at the 10th Global Sports Summit: FICCI ‘TURF’ 2020 discussed how fantasy sports is a digital sports engagement platform which in terms of growth and innovation, impacts sports and Indian economy directly.

Shri. Kiren Rijiju, Hon’ble Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports said on the growth of Indian Fantasy Sports, “I also see how fantasy sports is fuelling sports consumption. It is very important. Online fantasy sports is very instrumental in revolutionizing the manner in which sports enthusiasts engage with their respective favourite sports.”

When Harsh Jain, CEO and Co-Founder, Dream11 & Dream Sports was asked about the impact of fantasy sports in the sports industry, he said, India is a pretty big market with a billion sports fans, and so we cannot be a one-sport nation. The problem is that sports as an industry is built as top-down, meaning, it is all about mass and scale. We want to build it bottoms-up, and so, we want to focus on other sports that have pockets of users, and in India, even pockets can be lakhs of people. Fantasy Sports changes the way you consume sports – you don’t just follow the top team or the team you like; you follow everyone to see the value picks, research, knowledge, chemistry for every player, and sports consumption goes through the roof. It’s based on the actual sports match, and on real-life events and it’s not available 24×7.” 

Talking about the potential of fantasy sports in India, Dr Sangita Reddy, President, FICCI, and Joint MD, Apollo Hospitals Group, said, “Online Fantasy Sports industry is actively working to develop and strengthen, and provide meaningful impetus to the entire sports ecosystem and is committed to creating impact dual partnerships for the government and other organisations to help realise the true potential of sports. The industry is committing a corpus of INR 20 crores in FY 2020-21 and will be deploying an additional INR 50 crores in FY 2021-22 to aid and facilitate the development of sports in the sports ecosystem in the country.” 

Dependent entirely on real-life sports, Online Fantasy Sports (OFS) is a digital sports engagement platform. For avid fans and mature users, it has become one of the primary sources of sports engagement. For an upcoming live sporting event based on the sports knowledge and skill of the sports fan, they can create virtual teams on a fantasy sports platform. Based on the statistics generated by the on-field player’s performance, they compete against other teams. In order to create a successful fantasy sports team, fans follow the matches, teams, players, venue conditions etc. more closely which in turn increases sports consumption.

Harsh Jain shared the following key insights shared on OFS during his session: 

  • The format of Online Fantasy Sports ensures that sports enthusiasts follow the game more keenly, and this directly results in increased focus and attention towards sports. Fantasy Sports users watch 60% more sports
  • OFS provides sports fans with a transparent, non-addictive form of engagement
  • The majority of time spent by a fantasy sports user is on sports research, analysis and following the underlying real-world match, with fantasy sports participation being only a small and episodic fraction of the time spent by the user in relation to the activity
  • OFS increases sports viewership, and this symbiotic relationship between OFS and real-life sports ensures that the interest of fans does not waver, especially at a time when physical presence in stadiums is not possible
  • The emergence of these services has opened up new avenues for economic growth, investment and employment
  • OFS to contribute INR 13,500 Crores in taxes to the Indian government in the next five years
  • Fantasy Sports industry to generate FDI more than INR 10,000 Crores in the next few years
  • FS to create 12,000 additional jobs via direct & indirect employment
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