India’s fantasy sports industry, which has been growing over the last six years, is estimated to have invested ₹3,100 crore in real-world sports via sponsorships and partnerships with sporting leagues and is expected to make a cumulative contribution of ₹29,000 crore to the overall sports economy between FY22 and FY27.
A Deloitte India and Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports report, titled Fantasy Sports: A Catalyst for the Sports Economy’, said India has emerged as the fastest growing market in the world, with over 300 fantasy sports platforms having a user base of over 180 million, or almost three times the size of North America.
In FY22, revenues of fantasy sports firms almost tripled in two years to ₹6,800 crore, and 31% over FY21. It is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 30% over the next five years to ₹25,300 crore in FY27.
The industry’s growth can be attributed to a combination of infrastructural and market-led factors.
- Currently, there are 692 million active internet users. It is expected to increase to 900 million by 2025.
- The industry paid about ₹4,500 crore to the exchequer in taxes in FY18-22. It also attracted steady investments, with both domestic and foreign funding adding up to ₹15,000 crore till FY22, valuing the overall sector at about ₹75,000 crore.
- Furthermore, the industry generated indirect revenues of ₹6,200 crore in this period and created 12,000 direct and indirect jobs by FY22-end.
The Indian users of fantasy sports in FY22 were young and 40% of them were in the 25-34 age group, evenly split across metros and non-metros, and were predominantly male. The fantasy sports user base has about 40% of users participating more than once a week with only 20% registering for paid contests and about 60% of all transactions are from tier 2 and 3 towns.
While many sectors were reeling during the onslaught of COVID-19, India’s fantasy sports market continued to increase. There are several reasons for the growth of fantasy gaming in India.
- The primary factors include easy-to-use mobile apps and fantasy sports websites.
- Increasing internet and smartphone penetration and
- the remarkable passion for popular sports among the masses also contributes to the growth of fantasy gaming.
The coming times are expected to be equally exciting for the industry and the users. Several state governments have relaxed their rules, and platforms like Google have decided to list skill-based real-money fantasy sports games on Play Store.
Massive improvements can be expected in the gaming experience and the availability of options for users to participate in more fantasy sports. It is estimated that the fantasy sports games in India will register several more such changes to make it an open ecosystem for users in the country.
The major trends driving the fantasy sports industry are as follows:
- The fantasy sports industry in India is propelling a sports culture beyond cricket. For Indian sports fans, cricket has been the default choice for many years. However, with the introduction of fantasy sports, users have started taking an active interest in other sports like hockey, kabaddi, and football.
- A large chunk of the growth of fantasy gaming in India has come from tier-2 and tier-3 cities. While it has led to increasing digital literacy in these cities, it has also pushed the use of smartphones and the Internet.
- Private equity and venture capitalist investors have been investing in the success of the fantasy sports market in India. As a result, it has led to significant foreign direct investment and the creation of highly skilled jobs in the country.
With more and more leagues coming into the picture, this will surely boost the fantasy sports market in India.
Moreover, with recent regulatory changes, the FS industry is set to grow responsibly and maximize its contribution to the sports economy and the nation. The 2023 Union Budget also saw an 11% increase in the allocation for sports, signaling a focus on building a strong sporting ecosystem in India. Although more investment and a strong sporting culture are needed to make India a sporting powerhouse, Fantasy Sports is playing a crucial role in the sports economy by supporting teams and tournaments through sponsorships creating a virtuous cycle of value generation that benefits athletes and bodies that spend on infrastructure and grassroots-level sports.
Fantasy Sports is not only boosting the core underlying sports, but it’s also emerging as a major success in the Indian start-up story, with companies building innovative consumer-facing tech products, building skills in advanced fields such as AI/ML, cloud computing, and analytics, and creating indirect revenue generation and job creation.
A few Israeli companies present in the fantasy sports ecosystem are: –
- Funatix: http://funatix.club/
Funatix is a technology company focused on the development of online sports games. The company’s flagship product is Real Manager, a fantasy sports platform that combines classic fantasy sports with the world of online games and social networks to fuel the user experience, increase user engagement, and provide a solution to common retention issues.
Real Manager was chosen by the IPFL to be the official Israeli Premier League fantasy game for the 2018-2019 season.
- Draft Fantasy Football: https://draftfantasyfootball.co.uk/
Draft Fantasy is a free-to-play, draft-style fantasy football game for the English Premier League, providing players with the perfect opportunity to show off their managerial skills. In Draft Fantasy football, every manager in the league picks a unique team of players in what is known as the draft. The draft progresses with each manager picking a player in turn until everyone has a full squad.
During each round of the Premier League season, the player decides on a starting 11. Players score points based on their weekly performances. They can also trade with friends in order to create the perfect team over the course of the season. The player with the most points by the end of the season is crowned Draft Fantasy footballing champion.
- Draft Hero: https://drafthero.com/
Fantasy Sports is one of the fastest growing markets in India the main credit goes to the incredible popularity of Cricket in India. Fantasy cricket is leading the way and is eager to capitalize on them. Many more similar opportunities are on the way which might pave the way forward.
For more information about this industry or opportunities in Israel, please connect with firstname.lastname@example.org