After much uncertainty and delay, IPL 2020 is finally upon us. With less than a month to go for the 13th edition of the world’s richest cricket league, the buzz and frenzy around cricket — India’s most watched sport — is back.
IPL is one of the biggest revenue-generators and growth-drivers for cricket streaming platforms, brand marketers, and – lately – fantasy gaming apps.
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Almost 85 to 90 percent of fantasy gaming in India has to do with cricket, according to industry estimates. Several fantasy sports operators are focused only on cricket, with IPL being one of their top vehicles for user growth.
There are an estimated 100 million fantasy sports users in India today, according to a study by KPMG and the Indian Federation of Sports Gaming (IFSG). About 74 percent of the users play fantasy leagues one to three times a week. “Fantasy sports platforms are enabling casual fans to engage with the sports they love, becoming core sports fans,” the federation states.
The staggering expansion of the ecosystem in the last 24 to 36 months has also attracted high-profile investors to the platforms. Startups in this space have drawn funding from biggies like Sequoia India, Tencent, Steadview Capital, Go-Ventures, and others. Many fantasy sports operators have even roped in top cricketers like Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, and others as brand ambassadors.
Here are some popular fantasy cricket apps that users can log into during IPL 2020. [Note: This is not an exhaustive list but merely a representative one.]
Dream11 is to fantasy gaming what Flipkart was to ecommerce in India. It not only is the country’s first — and only so far — gaming unicorn, but also the largest player in the sector and one that made fantasy gaming mainstream in the country.
Industry estimates suggest that Dream11 accounts for nearly 90 percent of the market. It has over 80 million users, and holds 1,000-plus daily contests across sports. The Dream11 app is available on Android and iOS; users can get a download link on SMS by entering their mobile number on the Dream11 website.
Most recently, it also bagged the title sponsorship for IPL 2020 in a Rs 222-crore deal with the BCCI.
MyTeam11 is among the recent entrants in fantasy gaming, but has made rapid strides in the last two years. It has over 12 million players, who have earned more than Rs 15 crore in winnings on the platform.
Players can increase their chances of winning by scoring with their fantasy team captain and vice-captain who earn in multiples of 2X and 1.5X. Users can also participate in polls and earn bonus cash through referrals.
The MyTeam11 app download link can be obtained on its website. Besides IPL, players can also create fantasy teams for Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20.
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Mobile Premier League (MPL) is one of the most-funded gaming apps after Dream11. It lets users choose from 45+ skill-based games, including fantasy cricket.
They can also earn scratch cards and redeem them for bonus cash. In addition to earning real money, MPL also allows users to chat with other gamers through an in-app messaging feature.
MPL recently signed as the principal sponsor for Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL and Trinbago Knight Riders in CPL. Both franchises are owned by Shah Rukh Khan.
HalaPlay is a daily fantasy sports app that lets users participate in quick and easy real money games. It has grown over 10X since inception and crossed four million users in 2019.
It has conducted over 5,000 daily sports contests across sports leagues in cricket, football, and kabaddi. Users can win cash prizes up to Rs 10 lakh per day on the app. The Android download link can be obtained via text or email.
Earlier this year, gaming giant Nazara Technologies acquired a majority stake in HalaPlay for Rs 14.6 crore.
11Wickets is one of the highest-rated (4.8 out of 5) fantasy cricket apps on the Apple App Store. It claims to have over three million users.
The app allows last-minute team selection, 12th man (a reserve player), participation in domestic championships like county cricket, and lowest commission leagues. Users can also get player rankings and pitch reports.
11Wickets can be downloaded by scanning a QR code on its website.
BalleBaazi (owned by Baazi Games) is named after the Hindi word for ‘batting’. It is focused on fantasy cricket, and users get to choose from a slew of leagues, monthly promotions, fantasy points system, referral bonuses, and rewards.
Unlike many of its peers, BalleBaazi lets users create their own private teams and invite only the ones they want to engage with. Players can also enter micro Leagues with buy-ins as low as Rs 1.
In 2019, BalleBaazi had three million users on its platform. It also raised $4 million from PE funds in Singapore and Delhi.
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My11Circle (part of the Play Games24x7 family) has more than half a million users. It focuses on cricket and football, and has doled out over Rs 100 crore in cash prizes in 15 months. Users get to choose from three types of contests: Small, Mega, and Private.
New players can also enjoy practice contests. Players can win up to Rs 1 crore in a day and also compete with the fantasy teams of ‘champions’ like Sourav Ganguly, Steve Smith, and Rashid Khan.
The app download link for My11Circle can be obtained with a missed call on a number listed on its website.
FanFight has more than four million users. Users can win up to Rs 50 lakh daily by participating in leagues in cricket, football, basketball, and baseball. IPL and CPL are among the top draws on FanFight.
Users get ExtraCash on joining, referrals, and daily rewards. The ExtraCash can be used to join paid contests. Players can also take part in FanFight Quiz, where they pick a category, challenge opponents, test their sports knowledge, earn points and win cash.
The FanFight app download link can be obtained through its website.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)
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