There is much to gain from association, especially if its the case of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The T20 tourney which was once a borrowed idea from the very popular English Premier League. And despite this, the popularity of the tournament has only increased over the years. Case in point: The Walt Disney Company India which is the official Television broadcaster of the matches, early this month, claimed the total live viewership of the T20 tournament has increased to 43.4 crore after 38 games, following 2.53 crore new viewers being added in the fourth week of the tournament. This meteoric rise has also aided in the significant growth of the online gaming industry. “This year, with an increase in the number of matches, the IPL has observed a 20% hike in viewership so far. As the league games come to an end, the excitement is building up as the top four teams are yet to be decided. The all-important eliminators, qualifiers, and finals are expected to bring in a lot of traction and keep the excitement levels high,” highlighted Sunil Yadav, CEO, PlayerzPot told BrandWagon Online.
India is home to over 300 fantasy sports platforms (FSPs) and 18 crore users to date, as per a recently launched report by Deloitte and the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS). The industry which clocked revenue worth Rs 6,800 crore in FY22, is expected to clock a 123% increase in revenue to Rs 1,5170 crore.
To be sure the addition of teams and an increase in the number of matches to a total 74 has not only lead to an uptick in the number of contestants, revenue too has shot up. “With more franchises and teams we have seen an uptick of more than 100% on all the parameters such as the number of contest joined and revenue. Our fantasy portfolio has shown a very strong traction with this year’s IPL,” said Ankit Anand, business head, Fantasy Dangal, said.
While revenue is just one side of the side, engagement too has surged through the roof. “To put things in perspective, our platform in 2022 managed a concurrency of seven million, and this year, we hit a record user concurrency of 10.56 million during the opening match itself –with almost a 50% increase since the last year. We have crossed a user base of 180 million and executed over 308 Requests Per Minute. Our user-first approach drives us to deliver world-class experiences that have revolutionised our format of fantasy sports, and our robust technology and product stack has helped achieve this,” Amit Sharma, CTO, Dream Sports, said.
Moreover, in order to gain much traction, online gaming firms have added the flavour of metaverse. “We are a different fantasy gaming platform where users can also trade player cards they have with other users to optimise their squads for fantasy tournaments, we have seen a lot of engagement from users during live matches, unlike traditional fantasy sports. Given the nature of our game, users engage on the marketplace during live matches to buy or sell players depending upon their performance during that match,” said Nitesh Jain, co-founder, Striker. MPL-backed Striker claims to have clocked approximately 30% higher engagement numbers from the same set of users.
Interestingly, the participants’ affinity to cricketers such as Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni resulted in a surge in the matches of Royal Challengers Bangalore, Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, among others. In fact, the latest FICCI-EY reports states that the use of brand ambassadors such as MS Dhoni for WinZO, Shah Rukh Khan for Ace23, Hrithik Roshan for Games 24×7, Virat Kohli for MPL also contributed to increase in awareness and trial. “The IPL game that witnessed the highest volume of players was the match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals, which took place on 14th May 2023. This particular match generated exceptional financial returns for our platform,” said Rohit Bansal, CEO, Super4. The platform claims to have clocked a growth of 75,000 new users in its user base.