With the e-sports industry gaining a massive boom in the last one year due to the Covid-19-induced lockdown, tech giants have drawn into the sector and now Tech Mahindra is the latest to organise a global chess league this year.
The last one year saw a massive growth in the fantasy sports platform, with Paytm games registering a 200% growth in its user base and a 4x increase in gameplays in the first half of 2020. Bangalore-based Mobile Premier League took a step forward in becoming a unicorn after raising a couple of investment rounds in the last year, thus the interest in the sector is understandable.
It can be noted that Reliance Jio and Airtel, India’s two biggest telecom providers, had already set their hands in the industry, with Jio tying up with MediaTek launched its first mobile esports tournament around the Garena Free Fire game that had a prize pool of ₹12.5 lakh.
Airtel then collaborated with esports company NODWIN Gaming, created India’s first national ranking and awarding system for all esports players based on their performances across major tournaments, including Call of Duty Mobile India Challenge, ESL India Premiership, North East eSports Summit and KO Fight Night.
Tech Mahindra, who have hired Vishwanathan Anand as the mentor for Global Chess League, expected from amateur and professional players to play in the tournament from pre-defined locations. The company is developing an application where chess enthusiasts and fans can follow matches and participate in fantasy leagues.
“In the past one year, all the stars have been aligning for chess. A lot of spectator interaction was already happening online. They proved to be very useful and popular during the pandemic. Netflix series Queen’s Gambit also helped drive up interest in the sports," Anand said.
“We would ensure that users can access it on an app, browser as well as on streaming platforms. We will add a lot of fantasy elements to drive up audience interaction."
Jagdish Mitra, chief strategy officer and head of growth at Tech Mahindra, stated that revenue is not the primary focus at the moment.
The important thing is to get the fan engagement going. Once that happens, the revenue will follow suit. Apart from regular revenue models like sponsorship, we will also be looking at models like fantasy league," Mitra added.