The last two years have been tough ones for most sports. Dozens of major tournaments and matches have had to be cancelled and many of those that went ahead had to be played in front of empty stands because of pandemic-related restrictions. But fans across the world have sought refuge in evergreen fantasy sports.
Nowhere has that been more true than in India, where the number of users of fantasy game apps has gone over 13 crores, surpassing the USA as the world’s biggest market. The popularity of fantasy sports predates the pandemic and lockdowns. They’ve been common in the US for over 35 years, while India was first exposed to them nearly 2 decades ago. But it’s only fairly recently that a fantasy game app like Howzat has really captured the imagination of sports fans across the country. Here we look at some of the reasons for the popularity of these games spreading like wildfire.
- Interactivity: For over 100 years that sport was played in an organised fashion with tournaments and leagues, fans were passive consumers. The players played on the field or court, and the fans watched and/or listened, whether it was inside stadiums or on the radio or television. Once the game was over, that was it. Fantasy sports have completely transformed the experience. Every run scored or wicket taken in cricket, each goal score or assist made in football, and every raid or tackle made in kabaddi equates to points for your fantasy team. In this way, the fan has a stake in what’s going on out in the middle. Fans feel part of the action because they too are part of a fiercely competitive contest for points and cash prizes.
- Sense of community: With fantasy sports, you become part of a community by getting a chance to play with real players from all over the country. It isn’t only about bragging rights or showing off your knowledge, but being part of a community of like-minded people who share a passion for the sport.
- Showcasing your knowledge: You may have wanted to bat like Virat Kohli or bowl like Jasprit Bumrah, but not quite have the talent or means to do so. That doesn’t mean you don’t understand the game’s subtleties or its tactics. An app like Howzat allows you to show off just how much you know. Selecting a successful cricket team isn’t like buying a lottery ticket. A lot of thought and research goes into picking an XI that can win a contest. Players need to assess current form, past performances against the same opposition, and even the playing conditions. Luck might play a small part, as it does in real sport too, but to win at fantasy sport, you need to have done your homework. The outcome depends mainly on your skills and strategy.
- Playing with the best: Fantasy sports get you closer to the action by making you invested in every ball or every minute of play. But the best fantasy apps like Howzat go a step further and allow you to test your skills by playing with the game’s greats.
- Rewards for the time spent: Many will choose to play the free versions of fantasy sports, at least at first. But for those who want to be rewarded for their skills, there are plenty of contests that offer huge cash prizes. It may take you a while to figure out a winning strategy – the unlimited free games on Howzat help a lot with that – but once you do, it can be a thrilling experience to take on the best players from around the country and win cash prizes.
With so much sport being played around the year, the popularity of fantasy sports will only grow, and so will the rewards you can win playing them. So what are you waiting for? Download the Howzat fantasy app now, familiarise yourself with the rules, and start playing against your fellow fans. You’ll never see a game of cricket, football or kabaddi in the same way again.