NEW DELHI: The revenue of fantasy gaming platforms during Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket matches rose 24% from a year earlier to over 28 billion rupees ($342 million) with over 61 million users participating, a report by the Redseer consultancy said.
Fantasy gaming apps gained popularity in India during the pandemic. Many new companies entered the market to cash in on cricket's popularity and have launched virtual leagues and contests in other sports such as soccer.
The IPL, one of the most followed sporting events in India, held matches from mid-March to end-May, attracting millions of viewers, while gaming app players launched their own virtual contests.
"Playing fantasy sports is becoming a craze in the country," said Saurav Chachan, director, Redseer strategic consultancy, noting 35% to 50% of the revenue of fantasy sports platforms was driven by IPL matches.
Last week, fantasy gaming company Dream11 won a three-year contract to become a lead sponsor of India's national cricket team for three years, replacing educational technology firm Byju's after the end of a contract in March.
With betting illegal in India, unlike in many countries, Chachan said fantasy sports apps were promoted as "a game of skill", offering chances to win big cash prizes, based on the knowledge of game.
Over the past five IPL seasons since 2019, fantasy gaming apps have seen a compound annual growth of 18% of cash users every year, while total market revenue in the same period has crossed over $1 billion, according to industry estimates.
Redseer estimated the IPL's latest season attracted advertisements amounting 100 billion rupees ($1.2 billion) - 65% of which was earned by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), its franchise and broadcasters, with the remaining 35% by traditional media and internet platforms. ($1 = 81.8700 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Manoj Kumar; Editing by Alison Williams)