Online gaming companies have become inextricably linked to many sporting events across the planet, and India is no exception
Words by Jaydeep, Vice President at Markor Technology. Jaydeep's aim is to expand Markor's reach in established and emerging markets in Asia and Africa. Before Markor, Jaydeep worked with Ingenuity Gaming. He has extensive experience, working in the gaming industry at a senior level positions and has worked in executive roles at leading casino brands 32 Red, Ladbrokes and Cozy Games. Jaydeep has several professional relationships with key stake holders and is playing a key role in establishing a vibrant gaming industry in India.
At a time when most events have been suspended during this pandemic, many sporting events are finding it difficult to get sponsorship for their major events. The sporting industry is grappling with questions regarding the future of various sporting events across the world, few sports websites in India and abroad, backed by online gaming companies, have come forward to the rescue.
Online Gaming Companies have become inextricably linked to many sporting events across the planet. The global pandemic has severely impacted the sports community and it is still striving to get back on track. Gaming sponsorships have become ubiquitous in sports, with more than two-thirds of the teams examined in this study having some form of partnership with a Gaming-related website or sportsbook operator. This is especially pronounced in football, where 70 per cent of teams have betting sponsors and one-quarter of teams display the logos of betting companies on their shirts.
Of all 188 sports teams examined, 30 per cent were associated with sponsorship by firms which are operating in markets that are not subject to specific. It was found that in England half of the Premier League's 20 clubs have a gaming sponsor on their shirt and the proportion rises to 17 out of 24 among clubs in the Championship, which is itself sponsored by Sky Bet.
As well as shirts, companies frequently sponsor entire stands or stadiums. Stoke City are owned by the Coates family, who also own Bet365, hence the Bet365 stadium. Combined with pitch side hoardings, this means gaming brand’s logos are visible throughout televised football matches, even when there are no adverts. In a study of three episodes of the BBC’s flagship football highlights programme. Match of the Day, researchers at Goldsmiths, University of London found that gaming companies logos or branding appeared on screen for between 71 per cent and 89 per cent of the show’s running time. Last year England’s Premier League clubs earned a record £349.1m from shirt sponsorship deals, a rise of more than 10 per cent compare to £315.6m in 2018-19.
In India, football is the second most popular sports on fantasy gaming platforms after cricket, according to a 2019 report by the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS)-KPMG. Indian Football fans have been inclining towards fantasy gaming platform. Online platforms such as Mobile Premier League (MPL), Twelfth Man and Paytm First Games have registered more than 30 per cent increases in user traction and engagement in keeping with Indian Super League’s progress. Fantasy gaming platforms allow players to create their own virtual teams by selecting active real-life footballers from a particular league or tournament. Players then gain points based on actual team or player performances and compete to earn points, often for cash prizes.
Most of such platforms work on a ‘freemium’ model where they play for free. Revenue streams for platforms include ads, contest fee and brand partnerships. Launched in April this year, football-only fantasy sports platform Twelfth Man said it is getting a few thousand new users every day. MPL said that so far it has witnessed an 11 per cent increase in the average number of gamers per match playing fantasy football in ISL matches.
Indian Super League, that kicked off in November 2020, ATK Mohun Bagan and Goa FC showcased the names of two different websites ~ sbotop.net and IndiNews ~ on their players’ jerseys as their principal sponsors. Both the websites are backed by online betting companies. IndiNews is an offshoot of Indibet, which calls itself “Asia’s leading online gaming site and home to some of the best gaming products on the web that includes sports betting”. On the website are multiple links to Indibet, with “welcome bonus”, “jackpots” and free credits in rupees offered to prospective bettors. sbotop.net offers betting tips and predictions for a range of sports, including cricket and football. It also has multiple news and announcements related to SBOTOP, an online betting brand that is a part of Isle of Man-based Celton Manx Group.
SBOTOP recently named West Indies cricketer Dwayne Bravo as its brand ambassador. In its announcement, also published on sbotop.com, the company claimed to be a “global online gaming platform that strives to give its customers the best eGaming experience with its comprehensive suite of products ranging from Sports, Live Casino and Slot games available on both desktop and mobile”.
The rules related to online Gaming are not very well defined under the Indian laws. If the Indian government/sports associations bring clear rules and guidelines for online gaming, the sports industry in India can get a good influx of funds from Gaming Companies which in turn can create a vibrant sports industry and nurture sportsmanship.
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