IPL an opportunity to capitalise on excitement among Indian sports community: Dream11 Co-Founder
We are looking at providing immense value to Indian sports fans on our digital fan engagement platform, says Bhavit Sheth
Dream11, the title sponsor of the Indian Premier League 2020, sees the IPL as an opportunity to capitalise on the “fever-pitch of excitement among the Indian sports community”, expand brand awareness and reach out to new audiences during this period, said Bhavit Sheth, COO and Co-Founder of Dream Sports and Dream11. Starting on September 19, the IPL will be played in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.
In an email interview, Sheth told BusinessLine that Dream Sports — the parent firm of Dream11 — had raised $225 million in primary and secondary investments on September 14 to support the company in funding the Dream 11 IPL title sponsorship. This investment was led by Tiger Global Management, TPG Tech Adjacencies (TTAD), ChrysCapital and Footpath Ventures.
Has there been an increase in Dream11’s user-base/downloads post the announcement of the IPL deal?
It’s too early to quote a significant number or per cent increase. However, as a sports brand and the title sponsor of IPL, we are looking at providing immense value to Indian sports fans on our digital fan engagement platform, Dream11, and our multi-sport aggregator platform, FanCode. We are certain that this year ‘Dream11 IPL’ will be watched and followed by many cricket fans.
Has the ban on PUBG created space for Dream Sports to move beyond cricket into other gaming?
We are a sports brand with a vision to ‘Make Sports Better’. Our portfolio brands are focussed towards making sports better.For example, Dream11 is purely a sports engagement platform for Indian sports fans, and FanCode is a multi-sport aggregator platform that offers comprehensive sports content and sports fan merchandising on a single platform. We will not be foraying into online gaming unless it involves sports. All our current and future services and offerings will be within the sports domain.
What kind of returns are you expecting from the upcoming IPL?
Dream11 IPL season is an important period for Dream11 and all the Dream Sports brands. We see it as an opportunity to capitalise on the fever-pitch of excitement among the Indian sports community, expand brand awareness and reach out to new audiences during this period. We are happy to continue building our partnership with BCCI and IPL to further promote digital sports fan engagement in India. During this IPL, we are happy to provide access to a range of authentic and affordable fan gear for six IPL teams through FanCode Shop and look forward to having all Indian sports fans making their Dream11 for every Dream11 IPL match.
How are you planning to use these newly raised funds?
This round of investment in Dream Sports was mainly a secondary investment with a small amount of primary investment to support us in funding the Dream11 IPL Title sponsorship.
Did the discussions for this start after Dream11 won the IPL deal or was the fund-raise always on the cards?
The transaction was already finalised in March 2020, put on hold because of Covid-19 in lieu of the uncertain market dynamics, restarted in July 2020 and closed by mid-August with the return of sports globally. While closing the transaction at the same deal terms and valuation as before for Dream Sports, Dream11 got an opportunity to become the title sponsors of IPL, due to which we stretched the deal closure a couple of weeks into September to fund the Dream11 IPL sponsorship.
Will you be looking for further fundraise? How do you plan to monetise this?
We do not expect any primary fund-raises in the near future. If at all, we will look at doing secondary deals.