The fantasy sports market has maintained a steady growth curve over the last few years and all probabilities suggest that it is yet to attain its full potential. There are a large number of fantasy sports apps operating in the market currently, with the number only expected to increase with time given the lucrative nature of the market.
That growth owes a lot to the craze that exists among fans across the country when it comes to sports. People in India live by the sport they love. And it is mostly cricket that is the source of all the craziness. A fantasy cricket app like Howzat allows fans to channel their passion into something more fruitful and rewarding. Fantasy sports apps nurture their passion while also giving them cash rewards.
However, other sports such as football, kabaddi and volleyball haven’t been left far behind. The increasing popularity of these segments along with the emergence of franchise-based tournaments are making these sports immensely popular in our country.
What the market predictions say
According to a report published by Ficci-EY, Indian fantasy sports is expected to touch $2.5 billion this year at an impressive CAGR of 32%. That will mean that the industry will be valued at $3.7 billion by 2024. Figures show that approximately 100 million users logged in to fantasy sports in 2020. Those figures have increased manifold in the last one year with plenty of new users getting hooked to fantasy sports apps every day. Fantasy app download is not rocket science. All you have to do is download the app from the platform’s official website, login and start playing.
A contribution of $401 million was made to the sports ecosystem in India by the fantasy sports industry during FY21. The figures are expected to double in the next three years with not just the number of users increasing but the fantasy sports operators increasing too. The Niti Aayog in a recommendation paper (2020) predicted that India will become a global hub for the fantasy sports industry.
That would necessitate more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in India, creating livelihood for many. In the process, the sports ecosystem would also grow. In addition to that, the fact that the fantasy sports industry is a technology intensive industry would require more investors to come in, ensuring an able tech force to operate in.
Cricket driving the growth
Data shows that almost 71% of fantasy sports users love cricket. The emergence of the Indian T20 League and international T20 cricket has contributed mostly to that growth. The knowledge of the game along with the lucrative nature of the rewards attract cricket fans to apps such as Howzat. The revenue generated by such apps were close to ₹26.8 million in 2014, which more than doubled in four years’ time standing at ₹58.6 million in 2018. In just another two years, that sum skyrocketed touching $330 million in 2020.
The potential for growth is huge given that approximately 31% smartphone users currently play sports-related games on their cell phones. Once they turn their attention toward something like fantasy cricket, the opportunity to tap in will be huge.
Some people still think that fantasy sports is some kind of gambling, which is why they tend to stay away from those apps. However, it is a faulty idea. There is nothing close to gambling when it comes to fantasy sports. The Hon’ Supreme Court has declared playing skill games like fantasy sports for real money as 100% legal and a business activity. In fact, the government is eligible to receive taxes from the winnings of individuals. The Indian government received TDS of $12.4 million from the winnings of users back in 2019. That reached $33.4 million by FY20. The government also collected a GST of $59.5 million from fantasy sports players that particular financial year.
As the idea surrounding the genre changes there will be more areas to cater to for fantasy sports operators.
Fantasy football In India
It is not just fantasy cricket that has grabbed the headlines over the last couple of years. With the emergence of the Indian Super League, football hasn’t been left far behind. Football occupies the second spot in terms of the overall domination of the fantasy sports market. Almost 54% of the overall players love football. It originally started with their love for tournaments such as English Premier League, Spanish La Liga and Italian Serie A. There are plenty of fantasy sports apps catering to those leagues exclusively. Those users are now tilting toward Indian football owing to the emergence of tournaments such as ISL and with more and more world-class players making India their home in their attempts to play football, that attraction will only grow.
Even kabaddi is attracting the attention of fantasy sports lovers. Various fantasy apps specializing in cricket and football are also adding kabaddi to their platform owing to the increasing visibility of the sports. With the understanding of sports increasing, the interest is also on the rise.
All the necessary indicators suggest that cricket, football and kabaddi are going to dominate the fantasy sports segment in India. Attractive prizes and cash incentives are going to attract more and more players to it, and that will surely drive the fantasy sports market in India over the course of the next few years.