HomeSports 2.0KreedOn Case StudyAnalysis of Fantasy Sports contribution in the growth of India sports economy

Analysis of Fantasy Sports contribution in the growth of India sports economy

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India is becoming a popular destination for fantasy sports, thanks to the widespread use of cell phones and the internet, both of which are considered as helping tools to boost the popularity of fantasy sports nationwide. Fantasy sports are a type of online game where participants assemble virtual teams of real players of a professional sport and then compete based on the statistical performance of those players in actual games. The participants act as the general manager of the team and are responsible for drafting players, trading and cutting players, and setting lineups. Points are earned based on the statistical performance of the players in real-world competitions. The participant whose team earns the most points over a given period of time (a season, a week, a day) wins. Common fantasy sports include fantasy football, fantasy basketball, fantasy baseball, and fantasy hockey. Fantasy cricket is the most popular type of fantasy sport in India. Dream 11, and MPL are famous platforms for fantasy cricket in India.

Although cricket still rules the sporting world in India, the younger generation has started showing an interest in sports like hockey, kabaddi, football, basketball, volleyball, and baseball. According to an India tech white paper, fantasy sports, which brought many well-known businesses and celebrities together, can be credited for the growth and increase in interest in other sports in India.

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In a 2020 recommendation paper, Niti Aayog identified India as a prime option to house the world’s rapidly expanding fantasy sports market. 

The Evolution of Fantasy Sports in India

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Fantasy sports in India have experienced incredible expansion. According to the FIFS-KPMG 2020 study, gross revenues of online sports operators increased by over three times year over year, from Rs.920 crore in FY19 to Rs. 2,400 crores in FY20.

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Indian online fantasy sports platforms reportedly garnered significant international investment, according to a whitepaper by Indiatech. The FIFS report estimates that between 2018 and 2019, foreign investments reached a total of Rs.1,500 crore. 

The Indian fantasy sports sector gave the Indian sports ecosystem Rs 3,000 crore in the previous year through a variety of means, including sponsoring sports teams, and leagues, player buying rights, and even assisting in the growth of sports at the grassroots level. Along with the expansion of the sector and the user population that makes up its participant base, this figure is anticipated to double over the next three years.

According to industry estimates, online fantasy sports platforms and operators collectively paid GST of Rs 166 crore in FY19 and Rs 445 crore in FY20.

Before paying out winnings to winners, online fantasy sports (OFS) operators and platforms subtract applicable tax at the source. According to estimates from the industry, the tax deducted at source on prizes in FY 2019 was Rs 93 crore and would rise to Rs 250 crore by FY 2020.


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Online Gaming Revolution in India

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Online sports streaming, content aggregators, sports merchandise, e-commerce, and digital payments are just a few of the industries that have benefited from the online fantasy sports industry. These sports are being considered by some major corporations as a platform for product promotion.

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Online gaming income in India is now $43.8 billion, and KPMG estimates that it will rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.1 percent to $118.8 billion by FY23. However, the Indian fantasy sports market is expanding at a CAGR of 32%, and by the end of 2024, it is predicted to be worth $3.7 billion. With platforms like Dream11, Mobile Premier League, and MyTeam11 leveraging the popularity of the Indian Premier League (IPL), it remains the most popular league.

Additionally, according to PwC’s estimate, the Indian market for online fantasy sports is anticipated to be worth $3.7 billion by 2024.

In terms of involvement, viewership, and commercialization, these are demonstrating their potential to become one of the economy’s biggest contributors, according to Harsh Jain, CEO, and co-founder of Dream Sports, at the IAMAI’s IndiaDigital Summit 2022. 

The number of Indians playing in tier two and three cricket tournaments as well as in non-cricket sports like Kabaddi, basketball, hockey, football, handball, and volleyball has dramatically increased as a result of fantasy sports. Customers watch matches or portions of matches that they otherwise wouldn’t because they have the opportunity to form a team and compete against others. This radically alters engagement and causes a significant shift in sports to watch, which also improves the commercialization of sports.

The rise of fantasy sports from traditional sports

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There is a well-established symbiotic relationship between fantasy sports and traditional sports. According to data from several studies, fantasy sports are assisting in boosting consumers’ interest in viewing more live sporting events, which ultimately helps to fuel the commercial expansion of leagues and tournaments in a variety of sports.

The industry has also seen an increase in sports content platforms catering to the needs of fantasy sports players who spend time online, gathering statistics and knowledge to improve their skills while building their virtual teams. These include following sporting events and reading about athletes, teams, weather, and playing surfaces. The expansion of non-cricket sports like hockey, kabaddi, football, and volleyball as well as the rising popularity of women’s sports on fantasy sports websites are also predicted to help the business reach its full potential.


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Why fantasy sport is not gambling

Analysis of Fantasy Sports contribution in the growth of India sports economy | KreedOn
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It is very important to distinguish fantasy sports from online gambling. Fantasy sports are digital sports engagement platforms based on legitimate and sanctioned live sports events in accordance with the relevant sports authorities. In fantasy sports, winning is the total of a participant’s intelligence, ground-reality analytical skills, and awareness about the sport, rather than mere trial and error that could lead to either victory or doom. Fantasy sports generate user interest in the sport and its players, and increase sports engagement across the country.

The fantasy sports industry has also created multiple job opportunities for certain skilled industries in India, from software engineers and data scientists to developers and cyber security professionals. Despite several barriers, the fantasy sports industry has overcome, it continues to be under legal scrutiny in many states, where it is misinterpreted and associated with activities such as gambling or betting.

So, fantasy sports are unlike any other type of sports online gaming because they are based on real-world events, seasonality, and the availability of live sporting events, which makes them non-addictive. This clearly distinguishes it from other types that are thought to be gambling or betting.

How blockchain & 5G technology are facilitating fantasy sports

Analysis of Fantasy Sports contribution in the growth of India sports economy | KreedOn
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In the coming years, the 5G smartphone user base is likely to increase from 400 million to a billion, so there is huge growth potential. The 5G network’s high speed and low latency will enable FS platforms to create bigger and better multiplayer games in the future. New entrants also use blockchain technology, which can assist in complete transparency around player data, time stamps, team selection, and more. This will prevent cheating and make the entire gaming experience more transparent. Information on the chain can be verified by anyone at any time. So, it will serve as a perfect solution for a decentralized system.

Conclusion

Industry leaders and think tanks that study this market are of the opinion that formalizing recognition of the fantasy sports industry and establishing a system of governance based on principles would allow Indian fantasy sports operators to concentrate on innovation, grow their businesses, and expand their operations in a framework of transparent regulations. They said that doing, this will support India’s vision of “AatmaNirbhar Bharat” by fostering a sporting culture at all levels and turning India into a world sports giant.


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Niladri Chakraborty
Niladri Chakraborty
A creative mind and a free soul, Niladri Chakraborty is an extremely passionate football enthusiast. He bleeds for Liverpool FC and currently pursuing a MBA degree in Sports Management, with a dream to work for the club he loves in the future. Keen about football analytics and scouting, Niladri's love for writing made him join KreedOn to express his thoughts. He is also a movie buff, loves music and loves reading about spirituality, psychology and world history to boost his knowledge, which remain the most favorite topics for him beside football.

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