2 Minutes Read
India’s gaming behemoth, Dream11 enjoys a dominant share of the country’s fantasy gaming segment. Early this year, Dream11 announced that its registered users had crossed 5 Crores (50 Million) and will be ambitiously aiming to cross the 10 Crores (100 Million) mark.
While this seemed an optimistic goal, one that also attracted interest from some of the biggest global venture capital firms, the company has now taken a giant stride towards the goal post! Dream11 has entered a four-year exclusive partnership with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and is now BCCI’s official partner for the VIVO Indian Premier League (IPL).
Given IPL’s popularity – last year the IPL final match between Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad got 55.6 Million impressions on TV alone, Dream11’s new-found partnership with BCCI will not only help it expand its user base, but will also ensure the company’s hegemony in the fantasy games segment.
The BCCI – Dream11 Partnership
As part of the agreement, Dream11 will also power the ‘official fantasy game’ of IPL. The partnership will take off with the upcoming 2019 IPL that begins on March 23.
CEO and co-founder of Dream11, Harsh Jain said, “We are very excited to partner with the BCCI and provide an engaging cricketing experience for the IPL, which is the pinnacle of sports leagues in India.”
Jain added, “Dream11 is deeply integrating with the IPL, which is set to grow from its 1.4 billion TV impressions and 200 million online viewers in 2018, to achieve our goal of growing from 51 million users to 100 million users in 2019. It’s great to see how our dream of making fantasy sports intrinsic to sports fan engagement has come true.”
In its official announcement, the Committee of Administrators (CoA) of BCCI said, “The online viewership of IPL is growing each year and it’s essential for us to engage with the fans on digital platforms as well. Partnering with the biggest fantasy sports platform in India, Dream11 will help us in further increasing the popularity of the IPL amongst cricket fans.”
The fantasy sports industry has charted an exponential growth path in India over the past few years. The 2018 IFSG-Nielsen report estimated that there are an estimated 800 Million sports fans in India, and 300 Million of them follow the sport in some or other form online. The 2019 IFSG-KPMG report underlines that 71% of online fantasy sports game users play fantasy cricket.
The collaboration between BCCI and Dream11 will open the doors for millions of Cricket fans to create their own fantasy cricket teams. Several Dream11 brand integrations and on-ground activations at various stages of the VIVO IPL matches is also part of the deal.
Dream11 Targets Mission 10 Crore Users
Founded in 2007 by Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth, Dream11 was the first major player in the fantasy sports sector. While Kalaari Capital, Think Investments and Multiples Equity were the firm’s early investors, 2018 was a big year for the industry pioneer and saw Dream11 multi dimensionally grow in popularity and reach.
Right after roping in Indian cricketer and former national team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni as their brand ambassador in March, the portal announced Leo Burnett Orchard as its appointed creative agency. An extensive, round-the-clock publicity campaign on all other major TV networks ensured that the brand`s marketing slogan, ‘Dimaag Se Dhoni’ was drilled down every serious cricket fan in the country.
The campaign got Dream11 immense brand recall, and alongside the aggressive marketing, the fantasy site was working equally hard on diversifying it`s product offerings. Dream11 currently has tie-ups with the International Cricket Council (ICC), International Hockey Federation (IHF), Pro Kabaddi League, National Basketball Association, Big Bash League and Indian Super League.
In September last year, the company closed out its Series D funding round, with Chinese social and gaming conglomerate, Tencent Holdings investing US$100 Million (₹719 Crores).
Earlier this month, reports came in that Steadview Capital was looking to make a secondary transaction of $100 Million (₹710 Crores) in the firm at a valuation that would make this the largest gaming company in the country. Co-founder Jain, however, clarified that the company was not seeking fresh investments, but that a secondary transaction could always happen.
Looking beyond the PR outreach and tie-ups, Dream11 has also aggressively marketed its offerings by leveraging its extensive industry network, and these efforts have been instrumental in helping it attain 5 Crore registered users.
Jain outlined Dream11’s plans for its newly acquired funds for the IPL and the upcoming World Cup. “We want to focus on actually utilising the money that we raised in September in our Series D round. We have not even started utilising that money and we will use all that money for the upcoming IPL (Indian Premier League) and Cricket World Cup,” Jain had said.
By partnering with BCCI for IPL, Dream11 seems to have now come full circle. Given the ambitious target of 10 Crore customers – double of what it currently holds, Dream11 will undoubtedly have to come up with a few more significant moves. But for now, with the official partner tag for IPL on its chest, it seems well on track.