Fantasy football takes the front seat in India with the commencement of the nation’s top-flight football competition, the Indian Super League (ISL) 2020.
Fantasy sports saw a sharp rise in popularity during the recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020. The same trend is expected to continue during ISL 2020-21, according to Sudhanshu Gupta, chief operating officer of Paytm First Games.
“Those who have played IPL on our platform are now engaging in ISL as well, which is encouraging,” Gupta told the Mint.
The rise in popularity of fantasy football can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. With matches being played without fans in the stadium, fantasy gaming has become the primary fan engagement tool for brands and sports leagues.
Dream11 has signed a deal with the ISL, making it the official fantasy football partner of the league. Paytm First Games has also joined hands with FC Goa and Chennaiyin FC, becoming their associate sponsor.
“We see a major rise in players joining from southern and eastern India, which is an important base for our other games such as rummy as well. Having both these games on one platform has been a major draw for many users," claims Gupta.
Paytm First Games isn’t the only fantasy sports firm witnessing an uptick in the numbers. Navi-Mumbai based startup PlayerzPot has also claimed to have more traction during ISL 2020-21 when compared to its previous edition.
“Comparing the statistics of a week itself, there’s an increase of 50 per cent user engagement on ISL matches on PlayerzPot as compared to the last ISL season," Mitesh Gangar, co-founder, PlayerzPot revealed to the Mint.
Just like fantasy cricket, users make virtual teams by choosing 11 real players from a particular real-life football match. The result of these fantasy teams created by participants depends on the performance of the selected players in the match.
Every platform has different scoring systems, but the better your chosen 11 perform in the match, the higher will be your chances of winning.