Editor’s Pick: Fantasy Sports – A multi-billion dollar business

Fantasy gaming has revolutionised the sports, from mere fans to becoming stakeholders in the Industry. Initially, fans used to cheer for their favourite teams and players, but now they’ve all the liberty to create their team, manage players, choose captain, participate in the matches and tournaments, and eventually win it. Fantasy sports are not only based on luck, but it’s a real test of skill and knowledge.

Now every sports fan that owns a smartphone has one or the other sports fantasy application. Till 2016, there were only a handful of companies operating fantasy leagues in India, with the most dominant player Dream 11, holding almost 90% market share. According to the Indian Federation of Sports Gaming (IFSG) and AC Nielsen’s report on the sector, the user base will cross over $100 million by 2020. The fantasy sports market size is expected to reach more than $1.5 billion by 2024, growing at a CAGR of more than 11% during 2018–2024.

Fantasy Sports started in the USA in 1952. Today there are over 200+ operators with 60 million users (25% of US population). Almost 68% of male sports fans in the USA play fantasy sports. In India, fantasy sports was started by ESPN Star Sports in 2001 (Super Selector), but it was shut down in 2003. From 2 million users in 2016 to over 150 million users in 2020, India has seen massive growth in the rise of fantasy sports users through various apps and platforms. According to a study by KPMG and the Indian Federation of Sports Gaming (IFSG), about 74 percent of the users play fantasy leagues one to three times a week. India is also counted as one of the battlefield countries in terms of fantasy sports operators.

While most of the people still get confused between betting and fantasy sports, let me clear it that betting is where an individual places a bet on the result of the game, but fantasy sport depends on the performance of your team and players that you’ve chosen. And as per the judgement of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Dream11 and OFS are ‘games of skill’ and hence it is termed as a legal business entity.

By Archil Katiyar



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