EXCLUSIVE: Dream11 hits 5-cr fans mark, CEO Harsh Jain reveals 2020 vision for India's biggest sports gaming platform
India's biggest sports gaming platform, Dream11 has witnessed a phenomenal growth over the last 12 months and has more than doubled its user base from 2 crore in February, 2018 to 5 crore till date.
India's biggest sports gaming platform, Dream11 has witnessed a phenomenal growth over the last 12 months and has more than doubled its user base from 2 crore in February, 2018 to 5 crore till date. This is the highest number on any sports gaming platform in India. According to a report by Indian Federation of Sports Gaming (IFSG) & AC Nielsen, Dream11 holds almost 90% market share within the Indian fantasy sports industry. The platform has successfully looked beyond cricket and has been able to tap other ones like kabaddi, football and basketball. The growth also reaffirms the potential of fantasy sports in India.
2018 was particularly a good year for Dream11 as it officially partnered with leading International and Indian sporting bodies, such as the International Cricket Council (ICC), National Basketball Association (NBA), Big Bash League (BBL), Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), and International Hockey Federation (FIH) as their Official Fantasy Sports Game.
Having former Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on board as the brand ambassador also did the trick for the company which has now marked a new stance. Harsh Jain, CEO and Co-Founder, Dream11 told Zee Business Online in an exclusive interview that the platform will continue its efforts to expand user base and provide the Indian sports fans with a personalised, immersive and engaging experience. He said that the company eyes to have 10 crore users on board by 2020 and also revealed Dream11's plans for upcoming tournaments.
Here are the edited excerpts from the exclusive conversation:
Now that Dream11 has reached 5 crore users, how do you feel at this moment? Do you think you have achieved what you set out for or is there more to come?
We are thrilled to have 5 crore sports fans on our platform right before the IPL. This is a great milestone but our projections are very optimistic and we are looking at having around 10 crore+ users by 2020.
You have brought fantasy sports gaming to non-conventional sports like kabaddi and basketball which were never considered bankable in India. How has that experience been?
While Indian sports fans are still cricket crazy, an increasing number have started to enjoy diversity in sports. We are seeing good traction with other sports like football, kabaddi, basketball and hockey alike. Currently, around 85% of users on the Dream11 platform play fantasy cricket as compared to 95% three years ago. By 2020, this ratio is expected to reduce further to 65%. What is helping diversity is the introduction of 'Leagues' across multiple sports and the advent of technology. The leagues are bringing private money into the sport which is helping build infrastructure at the grassroots level, encouraging more people to take up sports and thus increasing the sports fan base.
What factors made fantasy sports so popular, especially Dream11?
Today, sports fans are constantly seeking a greater level of engagement and thrive on being actively involved with real-time sporting action. As India’s biggest sports gaming platform, with over 5 crore users, Dream11 helps sports fans increase their engagement and connect deeper with the sport they love. Our focus is on providing our users with an extremely engaging and immersive experience. Fantasy Sports is increasingly being used by sports leagues as their primary tool of fan engagement. Dream11 has officially partnered with ICC, FIH, BBL, WBBL, CPL, ISL, PKL and NBA. The leagues want to work with us because it is a symbiotic relationship. The more the users watch sports, the more they want to play fantasy sport and engage deeper. The more they play fantasy; the more sports they watch. These are somethings we have done differently apart from continuously iterating the product to be better for the Indian consumer.
How was been the experience of working with leagues like IPL and Pro Kabaddi League?
It’s a great experience. The formats are exciting and growing more year on year.
Now, the World Cup, of course is a big event this year. What are Dream11's plans for it?
We plan to have an integrated marketing campaign during the World Cup. As an Official Fantasy Sports partner of ICC, we have exclusive access to the content and player images that will help us in further leveraging/promoting the matches on our platform thereby increasing fan engagement by multifold.
What new features can the fans expect?
We have recently changed the 60-minute deadline to create fantasy sports teams on Dream11 to the official match start time. The skill of winning on Dream11 is about picking the BEST performing players, not picking who’s going to play. Users can expect a lot of new features in the coming cricketing season.
Being a user-first company focusing heavily on real-time fan engagement, our primary goal is to provide Indian sports fans with the best, most trusted single-match fantasy sports experience. Doing the little things right and giving users what they want helps build a sticky product. By using new technologies and amplifying our product offering, we're working towards giving sports fans a more holistic sporting experience on Dream11.
What are the emerging trends in the category?
Currently, users are going to different platforms to consume sports content like Hotstar for live sports, Cricbuzz for scores and commentary and Dream11 for fantasy sports. Going forward we look at the industry creating an entire ecosystem around fantasy sports and to use their data for customized and personalized multi-sports engagement.
Lastly, can we expect more swag from Mahendra Singh Dhoni in Dream11 campaigns in the coming days?
With IPL around the corner, you will soon get to know about our new brand campaign.