On Thursday, Indian cricketer Harbhajan Singh launched mobile sporting application Ballr by Fantasy Sport Technologies. The app is a micro fantasy and fan engagement platform featuring rapid fire micro gaming experience. The app will be available on the Google Play store from 24 May, 2016.
So far, Ballr has raised $4 million seed capital. The company plans to deploy the funds and use celebrity athlete endorsements, to pursue the market of an estimated 281 million adult sports fans in China and 93 million in India. Ballr has oﬃces in Sydney, Melbourne, New York, Delhi and Singapore.
Popularly known as the Turbanator, Harbhajan Singh is associated with the leadership of Ballr in India. He believes that this will be a great platform for fans to connect with the game and give them the chance to play alongside, test their skill and get rewarded by brands.
Recently, ace cricketer Virat Kohli also launched Fanbox, a product by startup Privyplex which lets his fans connect with with him and access him both digitally and in real life.
Founder and CEO, Sam Jones wishes to create a community of sports fans and build a digital environment for friendly competition & conversation. India is the second largest smart-phone market in the world with over 220 million users. In this context and given the immense enthusiasm Indian youth has for sports; Ballr can prove to be positioned right to be the perfect platform for them to connect through live sports..
In addition to serving sports fans, Ballr provides an opportunity for brands to connect with this audience. Ballr has partnered with global brands in India and plans to collaborate with more brands in the coming months for its subsequent launches.
Rohan Kumar, Head of Sub-Continent believes that brands are trying to reach new consumers in India and sport is the global language which can connect with them in the most effective way. The company chose the most attractive market (India) and started with the most widely viewed sport in India cricket. He says,
Ballr is a second screen for sport, delivered on a smart phone, where brands can have a deeper engagement with a targeted audience.
Ballr connects to all major social networks, allowing users to play head to head on a daily basis. Games on the platform will be free, with players in the running to win prizes and experiences such as bikes, phones, sports clothing, flights, sport tickets and the chance to meet their favourite players.
Following the launch with cricket in India, Ballr will launch soccer and basketball games in China, Thailand and Vietnam.
In the $570 million Indian mobile gaming market, Kalaari Capital-backed 99Games(parent company - Robosoft), Sequoia-backed Octro Inc, Moonfrog Labs(also Sequoia-backed) and Nazara Games are some of the major players. Udupi-based Robosoft has multiple games with more than 20 million downloads (on iOS). Octro Inc is the company behind Teen Patti and Rummy, both of which garnered millions of downloads. Moonfrog labs' Teen Patti Gold is one of the few games to be available in four languages(English, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati) boasting more than 2 millions downloads. Other mobile gaming startups making a mark in the segment include Ahmedabad-based Mech Mocha and Indore-based Twist Mobile, both from tier-2 cities, and Hyderabad-based Octathorpe and Bengaluru-based PlaySimple.