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Fantasy gaming platforms look beyond IPL to stay relevant

Despite the palpable impact of IPL suspension, gaming platforms are now planning to offer a wider range of sports like kabaddi, football, basketball and baseball to entice users

by Ruhail Amin
Published - May 12, 2021 8:52 AM Updated- May 12, 2021 8:55 AM

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With the suspension of the Indian Premier League 2021 recently, there have been speculations about how fantasy gaming platforms would cope in its absence.

To understand the issue firsthand, we reached out to some leading platforms on their take on IPL suspension and plans to sustain the business. Interestingly, most of the players were unanimous in their opinion about looking beyond IPL, for now, to stay on course. 

Expressing his views on the current situation, Saurabh Chopra, CEO, BalleBaazi.com said, “We are constantly discovering ways to connect with our users and bringing innovation to resonate with them better while maintaining their interest at the same time. With BalleBaazi’s sole mission being to create the best fantasy sports experience for audiences in India, we stay committed in offering a wide range of sports including kabaddi, football, basketball and baseball.” 

In these unsettling times, most of the fantasy gaming platforms have maintained that the safety of the players and their respected teams are of utmost importance.  “We at BalleBaazi.com support and comply with the BCCI in their decision to suspend the Indian Premier League, encouraging our users to maintain social distancing and put the safety of themselves and their loved ones as the top priority,” shared Chopra. 

Saroj Panigrahi, VP- My11Circle, the second-largest fantasy sports platform in India owned by Games24x7, says that they have seen a rising interest among Indian fantasy players for international leagues in the last few years.

“In the absence of live sports due to the ongoing pandemic, we have seen fantasy sports enthusiasts trying out our other offerings too. We are striving to engage our users with our unique offerings on live sports around the world in these trying times as a form of entertainment.”

As we know, online gaming is growing at an exponential pace in India. According to consulting firm Deloitte's estimates, the online gaming industry in India is poised to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40% to $2.8 billion by 2022 and this growth is being driven largely by skill games in India. 

“Games24x7, India's largest multi-game platform with over 75 million players, is going to play a vital role in driving this growth. We offer various skill games and casual games, including Rummy, Fantasy Cricket, Fantasy Football and Carrom and so on. Over the last few years, online skill gaming has emerged as a preferred form of entertainment among Indians”, added Panigrahi.  

A source from a leading fantasy platform stated that they were relying on hopes that IPL will resume overseas, as some recent statements by the BCCI members point out.

“IPL suspension has definitely impacted us but we are pinning our hopes on its resumption, at least overseas. There is a lot of money riding on it and we are hopeful that some solution will come through in the coming weeks. Also, though IPL brings in a chunk of our revenue we have other offerings too, majorly European cricket leagues and we are planning to entice our users with those offerings for now.”

The suspension of IPL has once again shown that like its offline counterpart, the Indian fantasy gaming industry is also a victim of the one-sport monopoly of cricket.

“Safety of players is far more important than any business impact,” shared Harsh Jain, Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder, Dream11 & Dream Sports when reached out for his comment on the suspension of the league and its impact.

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