Indian online gaming revenue to touch Rs 119 bn by 2023

Cricket engagement to dip down to 65% in next three years

MUMBAI: The rapid growth in digital infrastructure has led to a supercharged growth of online gaming from Rs 20 billion in FY14 to Rs 44 billion in FY18. The industry is expected to grow by 22 per cent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) by FY23 and reach Rs 119 billion, as per a KPMG Report.

The Indian Federation of Sports Gaming (IFSG), and KPMG India launched a report on the ‘The Evolving Landscape of Sports Gaming in India’ at its second event - GamePlan 2019. The report provides an overview of the online gaming industry with a focus on fantasy sports and eSports.

GamePlan 2019 had a session on ‘Future of online sports entertainment in India’ and the panellists were Google India country director sales Vikas Agnihotri, KPMG India partner and head-media and entertainment Girish Menon, Dream11 CEO and co-founder Harsh Jain, Wavemaker CEO south Asia Karthik Sharma and moderated by sports industry expert Gaurav Kapoor.

Experts believed that the level of engagement is very high when it comes to sports gaming in India. “We have seen 250 million people interact with sports last year and it is expected to reach 350 million this year. During the IPL, the search rates go up by 80 per cent as compared to the previous quarter,” Agnihotri said.

KPMG conducted a survey on 336 fantasy sports users to understand their preferences and playing patterns. For around 50 per cent of the respondents, the ‘ability to manage teams virtually’, ‘remain connected with the sport’ and ‘utilisation of sports knowledge’ was important motivators for engagement. Out of those 336 users, 71 per cent of the respondents played fantasy cricket followed by 54 per cent playing football. The non-cricket sports leagues in India are also witnessing increasing traction.

Commenting on the occasion, IFSG president John Loffhagen said, “With the rapidly growing digital infrastructure and emergence of new sports leagues, the Indian online sports gaming industry is witnessing a boom which shows no sign of slowing down. Exponential growth provides users with easy access to a vast variety of sports gaming apps, formats and genres. This could lead to potential confusion and misjudgement among players in choosing the right platform to engage with their favourite sport.

Due to the growth of digital infrastructure and the emergence of new sports leagues, fantasy sports is witnessing increasing traction in India. The number of fantasy sports operators spiked from 10 in 2016 to 70 in 2018.

Talking about the engagement of users on Dream11, Jain said, “We had around 95 per cent of our users playing fantasy cricket three years ago and it has come down to 85 per cent. Indian diaspora wants to consume more sports apart from just cricket. Cricket is still growing but other sports are also witnessing exponential growth.”

“One of the things all of us have to be aware of is that there is still a huge potential keeping the business model, strategy and the approach in mind. When it comes to sports gaming on monetisation, one of the advantages is the ability to build an ecosystem. Typically any online gaming product is largely free or pay and freemium sometimes. The ability to create an ecosystem is because of the high level of user engagement that exists. Those engagements are at a fairly high level of loyalty to their specific club or sport,” Menon said.

Jain believes that in the next three years cricket engagement will go down to 65 per cent and the remaining part will be from the non-cricketing sports. “The whole industry is waiting for Google to open Google ads for fantasy sports,” he added.

Online gaming in India is seeing increased traction due to the growth of digital infrastructure, with fantasy sports emerging as an important segment in this space. “With the number of fantasy sports operators growing rapidly and the number of users on fantasy sports platforms expected to cross 100 million by 2020, this segment has the potential to spawn a whole ecosystem around it, and could help deepen user engagement with their favourite sports,” Menon concluded.

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