Sports in India were limited to being a kind of passive amusement. Nonetheless, the advent of fantasy sports in India has made it possible for spectators and fans to come together and actively participate in their preferred sport. A study conducted by IMARC Group projects that between 2024 and 2032, the size of the Indian fantasy sports market will expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40.14%. Some of the major drivers propelling the market include the increasing number of sports leagues and annual athletic events, the accessibility of high-speed internet and smartphones at reasonable prices and the ongoing development of novel gaming solutions.

Amongst other sports, one particular that has played an instrumental role in propelling the growth of fantasy gaming is cricket. Beyond real-world settings, the unrelenting love for cricket has expanded to the virtual world. This has led to the growth of cricket fantasy gaming. The statistical figure from Statista, which shows that in 2023, cricket had the largest percentage of registered users in fantasy sports in India (85%), is a testament to this fact.

The rise in popularity of fantasy gaming has given rise to fantasy leagues, revolutionizing the entire gaming experience for individuals. In addition to altering the way cricket fans engage with the sport, fantasy leagues have created an immersive environment, blurring the distinction between viewer and participant.

Let us have a look at how digitalization has transformed cricket while contributing to the rise of fantasy gaming:

A look at the past:

Prior to the advent of fantasy gaming, watching cricket on television was the only way to enjoy the sport. However, the early 2000s marked a change in this scenario. A few online platforms began offering cricket fans the opportunity to build their ideal teams and compete against friends.

It was the introduction of Twenty20 (T20) league cricket that revolutionized the landscape of cricket in India. A flood of new players emerged as a result of the game’s shorter and more dynamic style and fantasy leagues adjusted to this trend. Consequently, the league’s novel structure greatly influenced fantasy gaming, driving up demand for it and fostering the emergence of platforms for it.

Present-day scenario:

While the prevalence of T20 leagues was on the rise but so was technology and the intricacy and realism of cricket fantasy gaming. Furthermore, the proliferation of mobile apps and user-friendly websites created new opportunities for cricket fans, allowing them to build their ideal teams, monitor player stats and compete against close ones or the entire worldwide community. Real-time updates and live scores introduced a dynamic element to the game, adding to its intensity. The incorporation of social components, chat features and interactive leaderboards worked wonders in increasing user engagement.

In 2017, the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS) was established as a result of the segment’s increased popularity. The primary responsibility of this federation is to safeguard the interests of both platforms and players. Together, the integration of cutting-edge technology and a robust online infrastructure, lowered the gap between possibilities and desires, leading to the advancement of the fantasy gaming sector in India.

Today, thanks to mobile applications and internet platforms, devoted and ardent sports fans have established their own community. This enables them to put their skills and abilities to the test and earn fantastic prizes in return. With more than 13 crore users, India is the largest fantasy sports market globally, according to a report released by the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS) in association with Deloitte. In addition, cricket is expected to increase at a 30% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next four years, according to the report, and it will continue to be the sport that brings in the most money for the fantasy sports industry as a whole. This data demonstrates the rise of cricket fantasy gaming and hints at its progressive growth ahead.

Cricket fantasy gaming:

Technology advancements have led to a rise in the popularity of cricket fantasy gaming as an incredible form of entertainment. Indeed, India has become one of the biggest fantasy gaming markets in the world thanks to an increasing number of cricket enthusiasts and a growing fascination towards online gaming. Fantasy cricket fans will continue to be enthralled with the virtual version of their beloved sport as technology keeps developing and offers even more interesting options.

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