It had to fail and it has. Three platinum members – MPL, My11Circle and MyTeam11 – of the Federation Of Indian Fantasy Sports have quit the body that was founded by fantasy sports leaders, Dream11. Serious differences in business and operational matters are being seen as this great fallout among platinum members of FIFS in IPL 2022.
It was always on shaky grounds. Solidarity was always on thin ice. In a sunshine sector, where every start-up company is trying to find its feet and carve a niche for itself, how long can one party call the shots?
According to top sources, MPL and My11Circle, did not renew their annual membership with FIFS. MyTeam11, a Jaipur-based fantasy sports company, were the first to pull out. A platinum membership comes at a whopping cost of Rs 50 lakhs.
FIFS was formed in 2017. It claims to be India’s one and only dedicated fantasy sports self regulatory body. Interestingly, a High Court judgement has even quoted the charter of this privately-run FIFS in one of its judgements in favour of fantasy sports, a subject that is seen in the realm of gambling and betting since it is played with stakes (money).
Messages to Anwar Shirpurwala, the CEO of FIFS, did not evoke any response. Sources say Shirpurwala has also resigned. It could not be confirmed.
The exit of three key players leaves FIFS on a sticky wicket and virtually without a voice because the other category of members are not major players in India’s online gaming sector.
The fault lines in FIFS was always apparent. When three members out of four are in business with the Board of Control for Cricket In India and spend massive marketing budgets to showcase themselves during a hot property like the Indian Premier League, there is bound to be conflict of interest.
MPL are the team sponsors of Indian cricket team. MPL signed a three-year deal with Kolkata Knight Riders in 2020 as principal sponsors. In IPL 2022, MPL has been replaced by another real money gaming company, Winzo.
My11Circle, endorsed by the BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, are the principal sponsors of IPL newbies Lucknow Super Giants. Their business interests are in direct clash with Dream11, for long a solid partner of BCCI.
Dream11 even became title sponsors of IPL 2020 when Vivo withdrew due to the India-China political problem in Galwan. Dream11 controls more than 70 per cent of India’s fantasy market.
It is learnt that MPL, My11Circle and MyTeam11 have had major differences with the FIFS management on how to run their individual business. Importantly, all three have business interests beyond fantasy cricket and are members of other gaming federations managing real money games like rummy and poker.
“No one wants to get bullied in a level-playing field. Guidelines can’t be lopsided and favouring one player,” pointed out a source in the know of developments.
Interestingly, BCCI guidelines allow fantasy cricket companies to associate themselves with IPL but forbid real money gaming. But operators like My11Circle are offering crores and inviting gamers to play with stakes. #KhabarLive #hydnews