Fantasy sports fuels sports consumption: Kiren Rijiju

Kiren Rijiju, the minister of youth and sports affairs of India, acknowledged the role of fantasy sports in increasing sports consumption and its significance as a sports engagement tool.

“I see how fantasy sports is fuelling sports consumption. Online fantasy sports is very instrumental in revolutionising the manner in which sports enthusiasts engage with their respective favourite sports,” said Kiren Rijiju, speaking at the 10th Global Sports Summit: FICCI 'TURF' 2020.

Harsh Jain, CEO and co-founder of Dream11 & Dream Sports, also spoke at the event, highlighting the impact of fantasy sports on user behaviour while consuming sports content.

“Fantasy sports changes the way you consume sports - you don't just follow the top team or the team you like; you follow everyone to see the value picks, research, knowledge, chemistry for every player, and sports consumption goes through the roof,” Jain explained. 

“It's based on the actual sports match, and on real-life events and it's not available 24x7,” he added.

According to a survey conducted by the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), as much as60 per centof fantasy sports users consume more sports when playing online fantasy games.

Online fantasy sports (OFS) not only influences sports consumption but also drives the economy of the country.

Harsh Jain reckoned that OFS platforms will contribute INR 13,500 crore in taxes to the Indian government in the next five years and the fantasy sports industry is pegged to generate Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of more than INR 10,000 crore in the next few years.

The fast-growing industry will also create 12,000 additional jobs via direct and indirect employment.

Jain also shed light on the relevance of other popular sports of the country, besides cricket, in driving the expansion of the fantasy sports market.

“India is a pretty big market with a billion sports fans, and so we cannot be a one-sport nation. We want to focus on other sports that have pockets of users, and in India, even pockets can be lakhs of people.” he pointed out.