Fantasy sports offer fans the opportunity to test their managing skills and understanding of real-life games. Players can select custom teams from virtual representations of real-life players. Game results are determined by the players’ current performances in real-life games.
People play these games with different intentions, some to make money and others for fun.
The industry has experienced massive growth in recent years, complemented by the growing technological adoption throughout the globe. Smartphones and standard digital currencies such as Ethereum have made the games even more accessible. Major regional and global leagues are increasingly endorsing fantasy platforms to merge the markets. On the other hand, fantasy games have brought sports fans closer to their teams than ever before.
How Big is the Fantasy Sports Market?
In 2019, the fantasy sports market was estimated at USD 16 billion. However, America holds the majority of this, with a revenue market share of about 50%. The global figures are foreseen to shoot to about $32 billion by 2025.
Other gaming heavyweights such as Japan, India, and China are also at the forefront but limited by their gambling laws. On the other hand, the UK has emerged as the second-largest market, favored by its enabling laws.
Here is how some of the top fantasy sports markets are faring:
Fantasy American Football in the US
North America holds the largest market in the fantasy sports industry. Unlike its counterparts, the US has enabling laws for fantasy sports, hence its dominance in the top position. The federal government exempts sports from the online gambling prohibition, considering it as a game of skill.
The US has over 35 million fantasy football players, making it the largest fantasy sport in the country. Besides, the NFL entered a partnership with providers making it even more popular, considering that the original American Football is already the most popular sport in the US.
The NFL deal will see the fantasy sports sector gain financial funding, full games data, and a presence in the NFL website and App. DraftKings had also entered a similar partnership earlier in 2019. Canada is also a top tier gaming landscape in the North American market.
Fantasy Football in Japan
Japan has one of the world’s largest gaming markets. Besides, Tokyo is recognized as the future city where people can experience the rarest technologies, animation, and video games. However, its fantasy sports market is limited by the gambling laws, which prohibit the same under sports betting. This means that users cannot wager on the games for real currency. However, players can win Amazon gift certificates, expected to hand out over ¥3 million.
Neo Sports was the nation’s first fantasy sports provider joining the American Fantasy Sports Association with basketball as its first offer.
However, Japan is still at the forefront in terms of embarrassing technology in the fantasy sports sector. Japanese football league, the J.League, has partnered with Sorare, a global fantasy football game, to provide users with digital collectibles via Ethereum’s blockchain technology.
However, fantasy gaming is not specifically prohibited in Japan but rather considered a form of online gambling that involves money. But with its consideration as a game of skills in other world gaming landscapes, there is a blurred line between its legality and prohibition.
Fantasy sports is only one of the recent changes in gaming. With the accompaniment of other digital games and tournaments such as eSports, digital gaming is projected to become more acceptable in Japan. Besides, the two complement one another in terms of making online gaming more appreciated and accessible.
Fantasy Cricket in India
With one of the world’s largest populations, India has a massive sports fan base reflected in its fantasy sports participation. Being the largest sport in the region, Cricket has claimed a massive audience of almost half its 1.3 billion population.
Following the original sports, Fantasy Cricket has also emerged as the largest fantasy sport. Dream 11 is the most popular fantasy cricket game, allowing players to participate in the Indian Premier League(IPL).
According to the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports(FIFS) studies, India has an estimated 100 million fantasy sports players.
As a tech giant, India can experience a market growth of about 300 million users within the decade.
Fantasy Football in the UK
The UK holds the second-largest market globally, with a market share of about 15% in revenues as of 2017. Fantasy Football is the most popular game, which is expected, Football being the region’s largest sport and the global most popular.
Although some players participate in unique leagues, the Premier League’s Fantasy League has the biggest market. The Premier League is the most popular league worldwide. The Fantasy Premier League has claimed a market of over 8 million users and is still growing.
The games are more competitive as users get ranked against competitors from all over the world. What makes the league more entertaining is its player selection freedom, allowing multiple participants to select the same players in different teams. On one end, the fans get the opportunity to create the best fantasy sports team, but on the other, competition becomes stiffer as multiple players select resembling line-ups across the globe.
The whole of Europe has an estimated 30 million users in the fantasy sports market. There is no doubt that Fantasy Sports will skyrocket in the next five years. Major operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel currently hold more than 90% of the market, but many companies will try to increase their market share in the coming years by focusing on underdeveloped markets, sports, demographics, and age segments. Women currently account for only 19% of Fantasy Sports players, and attracting more female players may be one way to go, as are age segments under 25 and over 40. One thing is certain: the Fantasy Sports market is still in its early stages of development.