Cricket season is finally here, with IPL 2020 kicking off last week.
Besides the league itself, IPL invariably puts the spotlight on a host of ancillary services, including fantasy gaming, sports streaming, sports content aggregation, fan merchandise, franchise partnerships, and so on.
Meet FanCode, a multi-sport aggregator platform built by Dream11 (India’s only gaming unicorn) that is riding the buzz around IPL 2020. It blends content, commerce, and community to woo the “evolved sports audience”. Launched in April 2019, it claims to have amassed over one crore users.
FanCode offers match analysis, previews, livestreams and highlights; player trivia, videos, and interviews; fantasy sports research and Dream11 guides; live scores, stats and schedules; official team merchandise; and match tickets. These are available across multiple sports: cricket, football, basketball, baseball, rugby, and handball.
Unlike Dream11, which — like all other fantasy gaming apps — is banned from Google Play Store, FanCode is available across official app stores. It has racked up over 10 million downloads on Android, with a rating of 4.1 out of 5.
Dream11 Founder and CEO Harsh Jain said at the FanCode launch,
“It has been fascinating to witness the evolving landscape of Indian sports and the rapid rise of fan engagement. FanCode aims to connect the evolved sports audience with relevant sports products and services.”
Just a month before the IPL, FanCode launched official merchandise of six teams: Delhi Capitals, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals, and Kings XI Punjab on the FanCode Shop.
The merchandise includes match jerseys, jackets, caps, masks, phone covers, wristbands, etc., along with Dream Sports’ athleisure apparel collection.
Navigating the app
To get started on FanCode, you have to select the sport and the leagues you want to track. You can also sub-select your favourite franchise(s) and team(s). This helps the app create a custom fan page for each user.
Besides top T20 leagues like IPL, Big Bash, European Cricket Series, among others, FanCode also offers fans the option to engage with domestic leagues like Ranji Trophy or even smaller provincial tournaments like Jharkhand T20 League.
Users can follow ICC’s top 10 test playing nations too.
The homepage displays match previews, live scores, results, featured videos, news updates, FanCode live blog, and exclusives (expert analysis). A new section on COVID-19’s impact on sports has also been added.
There are separate tabs for Schedule, News, Videos, and Shop. You can also add filters and alerts for matches that are live-streaming on the app.
High-quality ad-free live streams of matches that typically do not find a slot in mainstream media can be accessed with FanCode Match Pass (Rs 2) or FanCode Tour Pass (Rs 15). Streams can be viewed on phones, tablets, laptops, or TVs.
Finally, there’s FanCode Shop that curates official team merchandise and Dream Sports apparel and accessories, and ships them for free across India.
Why FanCode is a compelling proposition
FanCode is a well-curated and feature-rich offering for sports enthusiasts, who want to go beyond just passive consumption of matches. It enables fans to engage more deeply with their favourite teams, players, and events.
The app not only improves access to lesser-known sports leagues and lowers the entry barrier for viewers by offering dirt-cheap match passes, it also makes official sports merchandise widely available in India – possibly for the first time.
The ‘Shop’ section is an absolute delight for loyal fans, who can now stake their claim to ‘official’ sports merchandise without doubting its authenticity.
With FanCode, Dream11 is building a rich sports ecosystem that can potentially convert “casual fans” to “core fans” — what India’s sports and gaming federations are also betting on.
The app also stands out for its vivid colours, engaging infographics, and speedy updates. However, we sorely missed a search button on the homepage. For a dynamic and feature-heavy app like FanCode, that is non-negotiable.
Also, to draw users from small towns, which are driving growth on homegrown fantasy sports platforms, regional language support would be a nifty addition too.
Edited by Teja Lele Desai
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