MyTeam11 in a span of just three years has emerged as the second-largest fantasy sports platform in the country and has made further big strides with its latest brand association with Cricket West Indies as the title sponsor for the series against India.
The Jaipur-based company was eyeing a big marketing association with the Board of Control for Cricket in India for the international cricket sponsors rights but decided to opt-out of the bidding association. However, MyDream11 think tank has ambitious plans to grow in the space where the market leader is enjoying a big early lead and newcomers are cramping the industry space.
Amidst this challenging scenario, MyTeam11 co-founder and COO Sanjit Sihag emphasises on educating the client base for sustained growth of the industry, which according to him may reach up to 40 crore consumers over the next three to five years.
In a candid chat with InsideSport.co, Sihag shared his vision from MyTeam11’s association with Cricket West Indies to the future of the industry. Here are the excerpts:
InsideSport: How did the Cricket West Indies-MyTeam11 partnership happen? What was the thought process behind this deal?
Sanjit Sihag: We have been associated with small leagues. MyTeam 11 started in 2017. In 2018 we supported Karnataka Premier League. Then we sponsored a local league in Rajasthan – Rajwada Premier league. We have been partners of PSL and then Big Bash for one year. Earlier this year we were fantasy sports partners of Pro Volleyball League. All that was culminating into how do we create a brand name for ourselves at the international stage.
The idea of association with Cricket West Indies was driven by brand recognition. We had also tried to partner the IPL and the ICC as well, leading up to the World Cup but Dream11 beat us. When the Cricket West Indies deal came across, we thought that this will be India’s first series after the ICC World Cup. It was a right amalgamation of the things we were looking for.
The response in terms of traffic on our site brand recognition that is happening has been good. The primary purpose was never to gain too many registrations on the site, but to make MyTeam11 a household name when we are competing with the likes of Dream11.
IS: How does cricket connects you with targeted audience and what kind of ROIs will you be looking at from this association?
SS: MyTeam11 is very popular in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, especially among the youth who love cricket. We have made traction in other sports, but cricket still remains the biggest revenue driver on the platform. Indian audience is always cricket hungry. They are looking for opportunities to consume the live cricket action on all forms of media. Now, fantasy sport is a part of that cricket consumption habit of India. International cricket involving India gives you more eyeballs and that’s what we were looking for. In terms of ROIs we have seen good traction during the games that have been played so far.
Obviously, after the World Cup, it takes some time for the audience to warm-up for the bilateral action after having seen the game to that magnitude. While signing with Cricket West Indies we were well aware that it will not match the World Cup numbers. However, it gives us a lot go intangible value and brand recognition. The deal has really worked well for us in terms of PR values and brand recognition in our targeted markets.
IS: Can we safely say it will help you catch up with your competitor which has established an early lead?
SS: I think MyTeam11 has done a lot of trail-blazing activities. We were the very first fantasy sports platform to come up with a TV commercial in 2018. We have been torch-bearers in some areas. But, obviously, Dream11 has better financial strength since they have been in the business for more than a decade now. In the past couple of years, MyTeam11 has been recognised as the second-largest platform in the business. Dream11 still has an edge, but we certainly have made our mark.
IS: In this cramped fantasy busphere, what does MyTeam11 mean to an average Indian fantasy gamer?
SS: Our focus has always been very customer-centric. When we started MyTeam11 three years back there was just Dream11. There were uncertainties over the future of fantasy sports in India even from a legal perspective. There was this debate over skill versus chance games. Then a court ruling in favour of fantasy games changed the scenario when nobody was willing to touch the industry even with a ten-foot pole. Now there has been a trend for the past few years that many new fantasy sports companies come up before the Indian Premier League and try to spend a lot of money. It is becoming more and more difficult for a new player to make a mark unless they do things very differently. This year expectedly a lot more players came into the business with back to back culmination of the IPL and the ICC World Cup.
We have been inventing ourselves regularly. We are confident that with this Cricket West Indies association we should be able to round up more eyeballs.
IS: How big is the fantasy sports market in India? Where do you see it in the next five years?
The gaming market is still evolving. The trend has just started. In the past couple of years, the sector has seen an unprecedented growth of twenty to thirty times. In general, if we combine all the customers on each gaming platform, you will get a gaming community of somewhere between eight to ten crore fantasy sports users in India. Dream11 claims to have seven crore users. We have around 12 million and then there are other platforms. If we combine all this eight to ten crore is a very realistic number.
The business has a huge responsibility to educate the consumer that it is a game of skill and not gambling. The business also needs to educate the gamers about responsible gaming activities, so that the people don’t end up spending blindly. If you are not good at analysing the game there is no short cut method to earn. From the Government perspective, some sort of legal clarifications and regulations are still required. These factors will also determine how the overall industry grows from hereon now. If all shapes well this number should grow from three to five times in the next five years.