It’s Virat Kohli Vs MS Dhoni in the Indian e-gaming space

Indian captain Virat Kohli with MS Dhoni during a practice session in HyderabadIANS
  • Mobile Premier League has reportedly signed the Indian cricket captain for ₹120 million.
  • MS Dhoni had earlier come on board as a brand ambassador for fantasy gaming platform Dream11.
  • With the World Cup and IPL around the corner, these e-gaming platforms are set to garner more users and reach.
Indian e-sports startup Mobile Premier League has signed on Virat Kohli as its brand ambassador for ₹120 million.

What makes the deal unique is that the Mobile Premier League being just 10 months into the business decided to bring on board Kohli, who is currently India’s top celebrity brand endorser.

Meanwhile, former Indian men’s cricket team captain and Kohli’s friend, Mahendra Singh Dhoni endorses the fantasy gaming platform Dream11. Dhoni was signed by the startup as its brand ambassador in 2018 for an undisclosed amount.

With the upcoming frenzy of not just IPL but also the World Cup, e-sports platforms are looking at raking in a lot of business, targeting more users. While users admittedly get the incentive to also make money through these platforms, that does not appear to be the important factor driving the growth of these startups.

A recent study done by the Indian Federation of Sports Gaming and KPMG showed that across all age and income groups, ‘Fun and Excitement’ is the primary motivator for playing fantasy sports. “The ‘Opportunity to win money’ was seen as one of the motivators for around 30% of respondents, however, this was only the 5th most important factor for engagement,” stated the report.

The Indian online gaming market has hit it off in a big way with the segment set to grow to $1.1 billion by 2021.

With the cricketers battling it out in the game of endorsements, what remains to be seen is who can help the startups hit it out of the park.

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