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Online fantasy sport to improve fan-engagement with sports: Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju

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India’s Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju believes that the fast-spreading online fantasy sport in the country will play a significant role in bridging the gap with people and their favourite games.

"I see how fantasy sports is fuelling sports consumption. It is very important,” Rijiju said on Wednesday, reported TOI.

“Online fantasy sports is instrumental in revolutionising how sports enthusiasts engage with their respective favourite sports," the sports minister added.

Dream11 & Dream Sports CEO Harsh Jain delved deeper into how the digital sports engagement platform is impacting the Indian populace both in terms of growth and innovation.

"India is a pretty big market with a billion sports fans, and so we cannot be a one-sport nation. The problem is that sports as an industry is built as top-down, meaning, it is all about mass and scale,” the Dream11 Co-founder said.

“We want to build it bottoms-up, and so, we want to focus on other sports that have pockets of users, and in India, even pockets can be lakhs of people,” he added.

Jain believes that fantasy sports will change the perception of its users towards consumption as it will unlock more aspects of a sports lover than just fandom.

"You don't just follow the top team or the team you like; you follow everyone to see the value picks, research, knowledge, chemistry for every player, and sports consumption goes through the roof. It's based on the actual sports match, and on real-life events and it's not available 24x7," Jain added.

With the fantasy sports platforms now directly increasing sports consumption, as it allows a sports fan to closely follow everything - from matches, teams, players, venue conditions – to better his fantasy team, the industry is eyeing heavy investment in the coming years.

“The industry is committing a corpus of INR 20 crores in FY 2020-21 and will be deploying an additional Rs 50 crores in FY 2021-22 to aid and facilitate the development of sports in the sports ecosystem in the country,” said FICCI President Sangita Reddy.

"Online Fantasy Sports industry is actively working to develop and strengthen, and provide meaningful impetus to the entire sports ecosystem and is committed to creating impact dual partnerships for the government and other organisations to help realise the true potential of sports,” the Joint MD of Apollo Hospitals Group further added.

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