Campaign India Team
Oct 08, 2013

When Fantasy Cricket Leagues, born 2001, arrived

The right mix of fantasy and reality - with cricket at the core - clicks, finds Raahil Chopra

When Fantasy Cricket Leagues, born 2001, arrived

The sixth edition of the Indian Premier League saw something new added to its broadcast on Sony Six and Sony Max – regular updates of ‘fantasy’ team scores on-air, on television.

While, this integration was a first for the IPL, ‘fantasy cricket leagues’ have been around since 2001 in India.

ESPNStar’s Super Selector was launched for armchair cricket fans. The game carried on for two years, till the ICC World Cup in 2003, during which the Super Selector website remained inaccessible for long periods because it was overloaded with high traffic.

On the thought process behind launching the game back in 2001, conceiver of Super Selector, Joy Bhattacharya, also current director, Kolkata Knight Riders, said, “It was the perfect time for an interactive online cum television game - and we knew that cricket was the biggest game in the country. The ESS Singapore recommendation was that the back end was to be done by a British company who had run fantasy games in the UK. With all the technology available in India, we went to them! They very smugly told us that they had handled up to 15,000 players. We had 7,000 within an hour of the first show and 30,000 within a day. The peak was 7,50,000 which made it easily the biggest game show of its kind in the world. But our back end tech was just not good enough to give a great experience with those numbers. The technology required was probably a few years ahead of its time. But if ESS had kept it as priority it would still have easily been the leading cricket fantasy game worldwide.”

Attempts were subsequently made by a few other websites, but none met the success of the IPL Fantasy League.

TenTenTen Digital Products approached the BCCI before the start of the sixth season of the Indian Premier League with their creation – The IPL Fantasy League.

On the game, Ramesh Srivats, CEO and MD, TenTenTen Digital Products, said, “The IPL wanted to increase involvement and wanted to generate entertainment. We thought the official fantasy game would do that. Fantasy games provide a new dimension and get people to watch matches, which they otherwise wouldn’t watch. Other sites have had fantasy games too, but we approached the concept just like the BCCI approached cricket in the IPL. Cricket was at the core, but was packaged as a fun thing to do. The game was well thought, with social elements where team managers could share their teams on social networks. It got 5,00,000 registrations and each member spent an average time of 10 to 15 minutes on the website managing their team. The fact that this was an IPL property, the board could leverage the property by integrating it on-air.”

 

  

Joy Bhattacharya  director, Kolkata Knight Riders

ESPN STAR SUPER SELECTOR

The technology required was probably a few years ahead of its time. But if ESS had kept it as priority it would still have easily been the leading cricket fantasy game worldwide.

 

 

  

Ramesh Srivats  CEO and MD, TenTenTen Digital Products

IPL FANTASY LEAGUE

Fantasy games provide a new dimension and get people to watch matches, which they otherwise wouldn’t watch. Other sites have had fantasy games too, but we approached the concept just like the BCCI approached cricket in the IPL. Cricket was at the core, but was packaged as a fun thing to do.

The article appeared in the issue of Campaign India dated 20 September, 2013

Source:
Campaign India

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