Digital sports streaming is an exciting, lucrative sector in India. The sector has provided some of the biggest returns in both financial and consumer number terms to a host of Indian companies. Most of these companies have been riding on the massive religious love for the sport of cricket that India’s billion plus population has. Such is the size of the market, that streaming rights for the IPL — the over $7Billion valued Indian cricket league — saw its programming rights sell off for a record breaking $2.1 Billion in 2018. And the bidding intensity of the digital streaming rights can be gauged from the players that bid — Facebook, Twitter, Google, Disney-owned Star among others.
Now, looking to take a pie of this lucrative segment is the Tencent-backed fantasy sports gaming unicorn Dream11.
According to changes in the company’s corporate documents, Dream11’s parent has added “digital streaming of sports as well as organising and ticketing of sports events” to its main business objectives. (via Paper.vc) There is no official confirmation nor a live platform in place at the time of writing this piece. But a change in regulatory documents certainly hints towards the path.
And this looks like a natural progression. Dream11 currently claims to have over 70 Million registered users on its platform, which is growing at exponential pace. While that is no match to Disney-owned Hotstar’s 150Mn+ active monthly users, but it sure is a good figure to get into digital streaming. In terms of ticketing, while there are multiple players offering ticketing services for cricket matches in India, there is no single platform that can command a lion’s share of this lucrative segment. Most teams in the IPL too have their own ticket booking engines for their respective home and away matches.
As a startup, Dream11 crossed the $1Bn valuation mark through a rather interesting secondary transfer of shares in April last year. The company had then mentioned that Steadview Capital purchased an undisclosed amount of shares from existing investors Kalaari Capital, Think Investments and Multiples Equity. Economic Times reported that the deal is worth around $60 million and that it values Dream11 at $1 billion-$1.5 billion. If true, the valuation doubled from the $500Mn that Tencent valued the company at just months before this secondary transaction.
Dream11’s rise on the sporting arena has been nothing short of meteoric. What started as a platform targeting India’s cricket crazy audience during the lucrative IPL swiftly went on to become the official fantasy sports platform for the likes of NBA and FIH hockey tournaments. Primarily though, the platform still continues to be cricket-focused, with over 80% of its official deals with cricketing leagues globally.