Cricketers Influencing the Rise of Indian Fantasy Gaming Platforms

April 3, 2019

Looking at all the advertisements of Dream11, Mobile Premier League and other fantasy gaming platform, one might think that these enterprises are pretty new to the Indian market. Because it is only in the past few months that we have seen these online portals investing heavily in the Indian market.

You’ll be surprised to know that Dream11 is over 10 years old now. It was founded by Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth in 2008. With over 5 crore users in India, the brand in many ways laid the foundation of fantasy gaming platform in the country.

Here is how these platforms work – In a fantasy game, users create their own imaginary teams. If the game is based on, let’s say IPL, a user can make his or her own team of 11 players from the entire list of players in the league. Depending on the individual performance of the players that a user chooses to be in his or team, the money comes in or flows out.

Since a lot of this is based on luck, questions were obviously posed about the legality of such platforms as betting isn’t allowed in India. Dream11 being first of its kind came in the public eye. However, in 2017, the Indian house of law declared that “playing the Dream11 game involves superior knowledge, judgment, and attention”, making it different from betting.

It looks like this victory of Dream11, inspired others to follow their path because most of the other fantasy gaming platform were born only in or after 2018. Though Dream11 and Mobile Premier League are the most popular because of MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli as their brand ambassadors respectively, others are trying to match up to them and also choosing to join hands with Indian cricketers to reach out to more users. Here is a small brief on some of the most popular fantasy gaming platforms in India.

Dream11 was founded by Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth in 2008. After roping in Harsha Bhogle as their brand ambassador in 2017, the brand chose to appoint MS Dhoni as its main face of advertising in 2018.

Mobile Premier League
MPL was founded in 2018 by Sai Srinivas Kiran Garimella and Shubham Malhotra under Galactus Funware Technology. Indian skipper, Virat Kohli, serves as the brand’s ambassador in India. Towards the end of 2018, MPL received funding of 36.5 crores from venture capital company, Sequoia Capital.

HalaPlay considers itself the second largest fantasy sports platform in India. It was founded in 2017 by 4 BITS Pilani (Goa) students. Later in March 2019, the brand received additional funding of 40 crores from Nazara Technologies and Delta Corp. Around the same time, Pandya brothers – Hardik and Krunal, were roped in as the brand ambassadors of HalaPlay.

The inception of Fantain began in 2013. The company became bigger in 2016 when E-commerce company, BookMyShow, invested in it. With over 1 million user base, the brand roped in Suresh Raina as its brand ambassador in March 2019, to further reach out to more customers.

Fanmojo is a fantasy sports platform owned by mobile tech company U2opia Global. To expand its user count in India, in March 2019, Fanmojo made Prithvi Shaw its main face of advertising.

CricPlay is a part of Times Internet Limited. It recently roped in Gautam Gambhir as its brand ambassador.

A flagship brand of PPP Sports Management Pvt Ltd, Funtasy 11, has on board former Indian cricketer Murali Kartik as its brand ambassador.

Apne11 is owned and operated by Innovative Play International Private Limited. Kapil Dev serves as its brand ambassador and brand advisor.

Founded by Navkiran Singh, Puneet Dua, and Saurabh Chopra, BalleBazzi has been in business since January 2018. Yuvraj Singh serves as its brand ambassador at the moment.

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