Sports leagues are no less than a festival in our country! Among sports, cricket has a huge fandom in India. Apart from cricket, we have seen a hike in the popularity of other sports too like football, kabaddi, basketball, etc. The Indian sports industry has brilliantly utilized this fact to introduce various forms of sports leagues like IPL, Indian Super League, Pro Kabaddi League, etc. Also, e-sports didn’t fall short in the race. One such sports start-up that introduced “Fantasy Sports” in our country is “Dream 11.” Fantasy sports? Don’t worry, we will explain it in the upcoming sections.
Dream 11 is an online fantasy gaming platform created by Harsh Jain (Founder of Dream 11). It was started in 2008, to increase the involvement of sports lovers on online platforms. Currently, its market capitalization is $8 billion. Isn’t it a miracle for a debut e-sports startup to achieve this sort of success and popularity within a short span? It reached the height of success due to its effective & brilliant business model. Their business model can be helpful for other startups too. Hence, you will get a thorough explanation of the “Dream 11 Business Model” in this article.
We will explain the Dream 11 business model in three parts-
- Working Strategy
- Revenue Sources
- Marketing Strategy
Dream 11 is an Indian online gaming platform that enables you to participate in fantasy sports like cricket, hockey, basketball, and kabaddi leagues. Also, it operates on a freemium business model, meaning you can play for free or for cash prizes. However, you need to deposit the registration fee to become a user.
Now coming to the explanation of “Fantasy Sports.” It is nothing but a type of game, where you can create a virtual team of real-life players and compete with your rivals based on the performance of selected players in actual (real) matches going on in a sports league.
Here’s how it works:
- User registration: To become a user, you need to create an account on the Dream11 platform. Then, you have to deposit money into their wallet. You can use this money to participate in various games.
- Game creation: You can select a game of your choice and participate in it. For this, you need to create a team of real-life players from the available pool of players. Dream 11 provides a virtual budget to purchase players for your team.
- Entry fees: Apart from registration fees, you need to pay an entry fee to participate in a game. The amount of the entry fee determines the size of the prize pool. A percentage of this fee goes to Dream11 as its revenue and the remaining money is rewarded to the winners.
- Gameplay: The real-life performance of the players in the user’s team determines the user’s score in the game. Users compete against each other to see who can score the highest points. Thus, it becomes important for you to track the live performance of your team players.
- Prize distribution: Dream 11 award points to each player during the match based on their performance in a live match. The prize pool is divided among the top-scoring users, with the winner taking the largest share. The amount of money you will receive depends on your final score and points.
Note: The total amount of money that the users put in is always higher than the total prize money. So what happens to the remaining amount of money they collected? Dream 11 earns it as revenue. We will discuss it in detail in the next section.
Dream 11 spends a huge expenditure on marketing, awards, technology advancement, maintaining a user-friendly interface, human capital, and so on. But still, it is a profitable company! How? Because of its massive earnings in the form of revenues. Dream 11 business model utilizes numerous revenue sources to meet its expenditures and profits. It is the most important part of Dream 11 business model. Some of the major revenue sources of Dream 11 are-
Revenue from the registration fees and entry fees
As you know you need to register on this gaming platform and participate in the fantasy league by paying a certain amount of money. Have you noticed that the amount of reward money is always less than the total amount of money collected? Dream 11 keeps 25% of the platform fee as a commission. This is their primary source of revenue.
Revenue from Advertisements & Brand Partnerships
Since, Dream 11 sponsors multiple sports leagues like IPL and Pro Kabaddi Leagues, they earn significant revenues from the brands that advertise their products on their platform during live matches. Also, it generated around INR 8.24 crore from subscriptions. In the last few years, Dream 11 became a title sponsor for the IPL. This immensely helped them to gather a huge number of cricket fans on their gaming platform. Likewise, it earns revenue by sponsoring other sports leagues like PKL (Pro Kabaddi League), WBBL (World Basketball League), IHF (International Hockey Federation), and BBL (British Basketball League).
Other Sources of Revenue
Dream 11 has diversified other operating segments to expand its revenue sources. One such segment is merchandise. It sold a massive number of sports jerseys and related merchandise worth INR 1.2 crore. Apart from merchandise, it successfully operates other segments like travel, game development, gaming operations, content creation, video game development, etc. Dream 11 earns a good amount of money through these revenue sources.
Do you remember the advertisement for Dream 11 on television while watching IPL? Not only it sponsored Indian Premier Leagues but also it had famous cricketers like M.S. Dhoni as brand ambassadors. Similarly, they have numerous alluring and effective marketing strategies to promote their gaming platform all across the country. Some of the influencing marketing strategies of Dream 11 that attracted a vast user base are-
Perfect Brand Ambassadors
Dream 11 carefully sorts the celebrities that highly influence the public. One of the most significant brand ambassadors of Dream 11 was M.S. Dhoni. Almost every cricket enthusiast is aware of his intellectual and winning game strategies. Therefore, he effectively promoted the theme of Dream 11 with various marketing campaigns like #KhaeloDimagSe and #DimagSeDhoni. Eventually, it aimed to connect with the curious mind of sports enthusiasts who wanted to have profound knowledge and skills for the respective sports. Other brand ambassadors of Dream 11 include sportspersons and Bollywood celebrities.
Emotional & Nostalgic feelings in advertisements
In every video commercial, they promote the gaming platform with emotionally influencing taglines like #YeahGameHainMahan with soothing background music. This perfect combination confers a nostalgic feeling in public.
Dream 11 spends a considerable amount of budget on digital marketing. It is highly active on the internet and promotes the brand through social media ads. Also, it displayed the consumers who won the rewards by playing fantasy games on Dream 11. Also, they showcase the winners in the post-match presentation ceremonies. These digital ads subconsciously influence the public and enhance the expectations of the customers.
Buying IPL Promotions
As you know, marketing is all about perfect timing and opportunity. Dream 11 knew very well that IPL was the perfect time to grab the attention of cricket lovers. Thus, Dream 11 utilized this golden opportunity by buying IPL promotions that assisted them to acquire lakhs of users daily. Thus, it achieved the target of 100 million users at the end of the year. Also, with women’s IPL, it is looking forward to expanding its marketing expertise.
They target the referral user base by marketing various categories of promo codes. A new user receives a referral amount of INR 100.00 from the promo codes. This enhances the mouth-to-mouth publicity of the brand. Also, the referral amount is sufficient to play 3-4 games. All these features help Dream 11 acquire new customers and expand its loyal user base.
Overall, Dream11’s business model leverages the popularity of sports in India and the growing interest in fantasy sports. Due to its user-friendly interface, it is quite successful in India. Hence, it creates a legal platform for users to engage in sports-based gaming and win cash prizes. Thus, Dream 11 is a successful start-up similar to other brands like Zomato, Nykaa, Swiggy, Meesho, etc.