Fantasy sports lets users create virtual teams of real players to compete against other users. The fantasy teams’ results or the fantasy points earned depend on the statistical performance of the players in the real-life match in real-time.
Season-long fantasy and daily fantasy sports (DFS) are two of the most popular formats in fantasy gaming. DraftKings and FanDuel are the top fantasy sports platforms in North America.
While season-long fantasy is hugely popular in North America, DFS is the preferred format in India.
Users play DFS by creating fantasy teams of professional players from a particular match or competition within a salary cap. The users pay an entry fee to enter contests and compete against other users daily.
Although the fantasy sports market is in the nascent stage in India, a number of daily fantasy sports sites have made a mark in a short time.
Here, we will glance through the most popular fantasy sports sites in India.
Dream11 is the oldest and the largest fantasy sports platform in India. Founded in 2008 by Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth, the Mumbai-based firm has a claimed user base of more than 100 million and offers a plethora of sports on its platform.
Dream11 is the official fantasy partner for the various sports leagues, including the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Caribbean Premier League for fantasy cricket. Indian Super League (ISL) for fantasy football, National Basketball Association (NBA) for fantasy basketball, and the Pro Kabaddi league (PKL) for fantasy kabaddi.
In August 2020, Dream11 became the title sponsor of IPL 2020 and is also the official partner for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
Dream11, currently endorsed by former Indian cricket team captain MS Dhoni, allows its DFS players to join three types of contests - small league, grand league, and head to head.
Since its inception in 2008, Dream11 has been backed financially by a number of firms, including Chinese gaming and tech giant Tencent, Tiger Global Management, Kalaari Capital, Think Investments, and Multiples Alternate Asset Management.
In April 2019, following a USD 60 million investment from Steadview Capital, Dream11 joined the elite unicorn club by becoming the first Indian gaming company to reach USD 1 billion in market valuation. Safe to say, Dream11 tops the list of the most popular fantasy sports sites.
Launched in 2019, My11Circle offers fantasy cricket and fantasy football on its platform. Through its 'Play With Champions’ concept, an individual player can play against My11Circle ambassador and former Indian team captain Sourav Ganguly.
Afghanistan allrounder Rashid Khan and former Australian cricketer Shane Watson have also been roped in by the firm as its brand ambassadors.
My11Circle is owned by Games24x7, which is an online desktop and mobile gaming platform, and is making inroads to get into the major league in the industry.
Mobile Premier League (MPL)
Mobile Premier League (MPL) is one of the biggest Esports platforms in India that provides more than 50 games to its users. Popular mobile games like pool, ludo, carrom and chess are offered on its platform.
Along with mobile games, the Bangalore-based startup also features fantasy cricket, fantasy football, fantasy basketball, and fantasy kabaddi. It has signed current Indian team captain Virat Kohli and actress Tamannaah Bhatiaas its ambassadors.
MPL has grown its presence in the cricketing world by sponsoring the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the national cricket teams of the UAE and Ireland.
Launched in 2019, Gamezy is a fantasy sports gaming platform dedicated solely to cricket, offering its users the game in eight different languages. Within a year of its launch, it has made great strides in the fantasy sports industry and claims to have a user base of over 500,000.
Unlike other fantasy cricket apps, Gamezy allows users to create fantasy teams even in the second innings or once the match starts. Its users can play the classic 11-a-side format and also a new 5-a-side format.
Indian opener KL Rahul, who is also the captain of Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the Indian Premier League, is the face of the brand.
Founded by BTech graduates Sanjit Sihag and Vinit Godara in 2016, MyTeam11 forayed into the fantasy sports market as a fantasy cricket platform. The daily fantasy sports site soon added football, basketball, hockey, volleyball, and baseball in its fantasy roster.
The Jaipur-based company signed former Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag in 2018 to boost its DFS site and claims to have a 1.5 crore user base at present. MyTeam11 has also launched a multi-sport multi-faceted aggregator app SportsTiger.
Founded by four batchmates from BITS Pilani, HalaPlay launched its operations in 2017. The fantasy sports app allows its users to create fantasy teams for cricket and football and join grand prize leagues, head to head leagues, and double up and triple up leagues.
Its reverse fantasy feature lets the DFSplayers win by creating the worst-performing fantasy team. HalaPlay raised close to INR three crore with funding from Gaussian Networks and Nazara Technologies.
Indian School of Business alumnus Akhil Suhag developed the beta version of FanFight in 2016 and launched the full-fledged product in 2017, following an INR 1.3 crore investment for online rummy giant Ace2Three.
While the majority of its users have come on the site to play fantasy cricket, the platform also offers its consumers a chance to play fantasy football and kabaddi thus attracting interest from followers of sports besides cricket.
A venture of Baazi Games, BalleBaazi came to operation in 2018 as a fantasy cricket platform but has now added football, baseball, basketball, and kabaddi.
In a bid to attract more users and stand out from the competition, BalleBaazi offers prizes even when the users lose. The users win real cash when they win a fantasy contest but when they lose, they get BB Coins, which can be redeemed for vouchers and merchandise at the BB rewards store.
Balle Baazi’s parent company Baazi Games boasts PokerBaazi and RummyBaazi in its gaming portfolio.