Since ancient times, traditional sports has been our entertainment and even now it continues to be part of our leisure. But the emergence of video gaming and fantasy league are making the sports industry more intense and became a big-money business for the fan themselves. From there on, the fans involvement become more fervid than usual because the fans have to observe every tiny bit of the game which he can be executed later while playing fantasy games. The phenomena of fantasy sports might be a huge surprise activity for the non-consumers / followers, what is this fantasy sports is “ a type of game often played using the internet, where participants assemble imaginary or virtual teams of real players of a professional sport. These teams compete based on the statistical performance of those players’ in actual games. This performance is converted into points that are compiled and totalled later. They win or lose based on the real performance of the players in their fantasy team”. Millions of young sports aficionados across the globe are now hooked on to fantasy sports and the number is rising rapidly daily.
Fantasy games started in the USA in 1952 and today there are more than 200 operators and 59.3 million users across the USA and Canada. In India, the fantasy sports started in 2001 by ESPN star sports and then it was shut down by 2003. Nevertheless, later fantasy sports had kicked started again and witnessed enormous traction among the participants. The number has swollen from 2million users in 2016 to 20 million and 60 operators in 2018 and it is expected to rise to 100 million by 2019. But still, online fantasy sports in India is in the nascent stage and will become a leader years go by.
Pillars for the rise of fantasy sports
Fantasy game user numbers are increasing daily across the globe. It can be said that mere of just watching the game is not sufficient enough for the fans but wants to more involvement and benefits for them. Therefore, fantasy sports games are more than just a game because this type of entertainment could present an interesting tool for fan engagement and benefits them. For such a rise, a couple of reasons can be attributed, the rise of mobile users and the availability of the internet. There are 5.11 billion unique mobile users in the world today, up 100 million in the past year and 4.39 billion internet users in 2019. In India alone, according to TRAI, India has around 10,206 million mobile users and smartphone users are expected to reach 650 million to 700 million by 2023. The internet users are expected to register double-digit growth to reach 627 million in 2019 and grow to 800 million by 2023 based on the market research agency Kantar IMRB report.
It has been a seismic shift in the smartphone and internet users which has opened the door for fantasy sports and gaming industry and the industry also witnessed a gigantic growth for the decade. According to Orbis research, in 2018, the global fantasy sports market size was USD 13900 million and it is expected to reach USD 33200 by the end of 2025. In India, the internet has become cheaper than usual which has significantly helped the industry and made the user play without much interruption and not panicking about data pricing. According to KPMG and The India Federation of ports Gaming (IFSG), The industry is already worth INR. 43 billion and is said to reach INR 118.8 billion by 2023.
Impact of fantasy sports on real sports
Since the rise of fantasy sports, the real sports audience has tremendously increased to learn about sports and each player’s gaming techniques which will help them to analyse while selecting a player during the fantasy league games. According to the Fantasy Sports and gaming association (FSGA) in the USA, 64% of fantasy sports players are watching more live sports because of their involvement with fantasy sports and that has been a big endorsement for the real sports industry to pull the fans to watch the live matches. Fantasy games should be a blessing to the sports industry.
In the USA, Online games are available for free and but the developers ears billion through in-App purchase. But, it in India, freemium model and need to attract the fans by offering a single match free or provide some credit whenever they log in and most of the fans used to re-invest what they gained through the free credit and now the trend is changing among the users where they are ready to invest to test their sports skills and experiment the industry. Now, most of the fantasy sports companies are offering from a base price which starts with INR.10 to Rs.10 Cr and it is going to be a big test of their sports skills and strategy to draw the profit from their investment. The industry has been looked as an alternative investment for the consumers. Keeping such growth, the fantasy sports industry is witnessing lots of new players entering the market with various sports. Earlier, Football has been dominating the fantasy league industry in the globe and India, cricket has been a dominant force so far but now things are getting changed. Users are more adaptive to other sports as well as like, Kabaddi, Hockey, Volleyball, etc.