Trends that are driving the future of fantasy sports in India

Most fantasy sports players are sports fans who use virtual internet games to stay up to date and informed about their favourite games and players. Here's a look at transformative factors that will shape this emerging sector
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Across the country, gaming has become a recreational activity and a medium of entertainment. Fantasy sports is pivoting this enthusiasm for sporting events, with the popularity of fantasy sports in India skyrocketing in the last few years.

The vast fan base and high level of interest have helped India become one of the largest fantasy markets in the world. The sector is expected to be valued at ₹1.65 lakh crore by FY2025 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38 percent, as per a report launched by Deloitte. Against this landscape, a few major trends will shape the future of fantasy sports in India.

Technological advancement

As technology is evolving, people have started looking for more connected ways to participate in their favourite activities. Most fantasy sports players are sports fans who use virtual internet games to stay up to date and informed about their favourite games and players.

AR and VR will play a big role in developing India’s sports culture and ecosystem here. These transformative technologies will bring the 'closer to reality aspect' in the way people interact with the action on the field, making replacements and triggering power-ups. It will further help to acquire a large amount of data on fan behaviour that may be utilised to tailor services to fans, resulting in a win-win- situation for all players involved.

Interactive gaming, as well as the ability to participate in and keep up with live sports, will also be in high demand. It will be a great way to engage fans in a deeper, more personal way and mobilise one’s social network. It will further move the industry forward and inspire first-time gamers to become more integrated with the industry and regard fantasy games as a community.

Introduction of new games

In 2021, India had around 390 million gamers, and this figure is predicted to rise to 500 million by 2025 thanks to the developing mobile gaming sector.

Currently, the popularity of major sports leagues such as the National Football League (NFL) and the Indian Premier League (IPL) is driving up demand for fantasy sports in India. However, e-Sports and virtual gaming have become more accepted and popular as a result of their growing popularity. And as there is a need to maintain a perfect balance between demand and supply, introducing these new games to the platform will boost the overall fantasy gaming sector of India. It will provide a platform to play and engage with live sports and convert a casual sports viewer into a sports fanatic by pouring forth figures, numbers, and expert information.

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Sponsorship and celebrity endorsement

With the advent of a full-fledged major sports league in two years, fantasy sports operators are now trying to seek new ways to engage their users. Team sponsorship and sports celebrity endorsement have turned out to be one of the best sources to stay ahead of the curve and celebrate Indian sports fans’ fervour.

The real driving force behind these collaborations is the segment's exponential growth potential. According to a report in 2021, spending on sports celebrity endorsement increased by 11 percent every year, and there were a total of 444 brand endorsement deals, with cricketers accounting for 318 of them.

Increase in investments

Fantasy sports have been an imperative sector for innovation and investment over the last few years. Given the positive performance of fantasy games and their bright future, it will boost overall investment in the sector and provide an opportunity for global giants to enter the market and revolutionize the whole gaming industry. Thus, creating jobs in India and becoming a global powerhouse.

Since interest in sports is growing day by day, it is apparent that fantasy sports will become a significant phenomenon in the country, and as time and technology progress, it will continue to expand exponentially through many of its verticals, including fantasy sports.

However, as the industry is evolving, the government should now cooperate with industry stakeholders and develop a centralised regulatory framework that stimulates growth, investments and higher revenue for the government.

Edited by Anju Narayanan

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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