Entertainment used to be the primary motivation for people to watch sports, but ever since the introduction of fantasy sports, the market has changed. ESPN brought a revolutionary change in 2001 by introducing the Super Selector fantasy game. It increased user traction, and the sports enthusiasts had a whole new gaming segment to explore. Sports fans’ status elevated from mere spectators to stakeholders in the popular games of their choice.
In the 19 years of fantasy sports’ existence, the user base of all fantasy sports operators combined has increased from around half a million to a whopping 90 million users. In just two decades, the face of fantasy sports has changed a lot with the launch of various fantasy sports apps. As per a Google-KPMG report, India’s online gaming industry is growing at an exponential rate every year and is expected to be worth $1.1 billion by 2021. With an annual growth rate of 22.1%, fantasy sports is a booming industry in India.
Key Reasons for the Boom in the Fantasy Sports Industry
The high engagement and popularity of fantasy sports is primarily due to the rich and better gaming experience that fantasy sports providers provide to sports enthusiasts. Fantasy sports apps provide various contests ranging from free-to-join to paid leagues. Now viewers have an add-on benefit to test their sports knowledge by selecting teams of real players for upcoming matches. Each player is allotted a credit as per their recent performance and ranking. Fantasy sports players select their teams and join contests. They get rewarded with real cash prizes if their teams emerge victorious in cash contests.
Fantasy sports apps have become more popular than ever with the massive growth of digital infrastructure. The increasing internet penetration and wide smartphone adoption have positively impacted people’s participation in online fantasy sports. The number of fantasy sports operators and users is increasing day by day.
Immense popularity of Fantasy Sports Apps Post-2016
With over 60 odd platforms, the spike in the number of users on fantasy sports apps was witnessed mainly after 2016. According to a KPMG report, “The evolving landscape of sports gaming in India’ states a growth by over twenty-five times in the number of fantasy users from June 2016 to Feb 2019 only. The given founding is also corroborated by the fact that 30 new fantasy sports companies were launched in 2017-2018 alone.”
With the current engagement of over 90 million users via fantasy cricket app like Howzat, the fantasy sports user base is expected to increase by over 20 million users by the end of the Indian T20 league 2020. Even though most of the popular sports like football, basketball, and kabaddi are available on the fantasy sports platform, almost 85% of the user base consists of users who play fantasy cricket alone. KPMG backs the fact and states the viewership of Indian T20 league grew by 21% on television and 32% on online streaming apps in 2018, and the user base of fantasy cricket has grown even more.
Innovations Lead to Engagement
With the rapidly growing online sports ecosystem, the gap between real sports and fantasy sports is being bridged constantly. Fantasy sport app developers are investing in new technologies to improve their product and enhance user engagement. The growth of online payment apps has also boosted the growth of the fantasy sports gaming industry. Digital transactions have made depositing cash and withdrawing winnings very easy and lightning fast.
Innovation is playing a key role in ensuring fantasy sports players get the best experience. Popular apps like Howzat continue to innovate and bring new features to engage users. The app offers users both cash contests and free contests in fantasy cricket and other fantasy sports. Winners of cash contests get huge cash prizes. Besides, there are lots of offers like deposit bonuses, cashback, and intact cash offers, which help fantasy sports players have the best experience and make big money.
A New Growing Community of Sports Fanatics
The high engagement in fantasy sports has resulted in online community building. Daily contests on fantasy sports platforms have led to the growth of online gaming communities. Fantasy sports communities have become sacred places for sports fans to engage in meaningful and profound discussions around their favorite sports. The number of videos and articles giving tips on player selection and other aspects of fantasy sports has skyrocketed in the recent past. Blogs like the Howzat Blog post-match predictions and tips on probable playing elevens and team selection regularly to help sports lovers select the best teams.
The KPMG report considers India the largest emerging market when it comes to gaming app downloads. With the current rising number of active users on fantasy apps, it is evident people play fantasy sports not just for entertainment but also to utilize their sports knowledge at better, bigger platforms. With such rapid growth of esports and Indian online gaming infrastructure, the future of fantasy sports and fantasy sports gaming apps in the country is bright.