Representative Image | Photo Credit: Pexels / Suzy Hazelwood

This year’s Indian Premier League was gearing up to be one of the best, with interaction in fantasy sports anticipated to reach record highs.

Fans love indulging in fantasy leagues, picking their squad and discussing the tactics and form of players. It is a huge industry in India, with MyTeam11, Dream XI, My11Circle, HalaPlay and BalleBaazi all hugely popular platforms for the hungry fans. Indeed, the Financial Express reports that users of fantasy leagues have risen tenfold in just two years in India, making it a booming industry.

The popularity of fantasy sports is down to many factors. Sports fans, almost by definition, love any excuse to watch more sports and to discuss their favourite passion. And with a feature on India from Expatbets explaining how most gambling is illegal in the country, this leaves fantasy sports as a great way for fans to engage with their chosen sport without placing wagers, all while still expressing an element of aptitude to win a competition. Fantasy sports brings together the best of both worlds; mixing personal opinion and belief with skill and judgement.

With the future of the 2020 Indian Premier League in doubt, that passion is being fed elsewhere. The Straits Times revealed that the original March 29 start date for the IPL has long since passed and the whole season is likely to be adversely affected. However, that does not mean Indian sports fans have been staying away from their favourite fantasy sites. MyTeam11 have been looking at new and exciting ways to innovate in the absence of real sports, with a degree of success. CEO Vinit Godara told Daiji World that they have brought in quizzes and other games to keep users engaged.

“During the lockdown itself we have come up with MyTeam11 Quiz which caters to people of all age groups and even those who don’t indulge in fantasy sports can participate in a quiz. We have ensured that we give our users a variety of topics in the quiz which keeps them all the more intrigued.

“We have just launched MyteamRummy. 13-card Rummy is a game originated in India and one of the most sought-after online games. The biggest advantage is that it removes the equation of depending on live sport.”

This has ensured that the influx of users has remained at a consistent rate, despite the lack of sport to comment on. Indeed, sites offering tips for the upcoming season and debate on different teams have also continued to produce content, helping satisfy the thirst for real action fans have struggled to quench.

Rooter, one of India’s biggest sports fans communities, is also experiencing high volumes of traffics, as their CEO Piyush explained to the Indian Express: “Users are also uploading massive amounts of content across images and videos creating a lot of engagement for other sports fans. So, while an active sports calendar is great for our business, the current lockdown has in fact increased engagement on our platform.”

It seems that even as the cricket pitches remain empty and the kabaddi courts stay silent, Indians will find ways and means of indulging themselves in the discussion and promotion of their favourite pastimes. This is how fantasy sports interaction has continued in India, despite the lack of live action.

For all the latest news coming out of North East India, be sure to visit The News Mill daily.

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