Home Case Study Dream11 Business Model: Revenue and Operations

Dream11 Business Model: Revenue and Operations

by Tarun Pal
how dream11 makes money

In India, everyone is a fan of cricket, and so am I. I love watching cricket matches in all formats. Honestly, I discovered the Dream11 app two years ago. At first, I didn’t understand how to play, but after joining some contests, I learned. After some time, I pondered how Dream11 makes money and what its business model is.

So, I read an article about how the fantasy sports app business model works, and now I’m sharing with you how Dream11 makes money, its business model, and its sources of revenue.

Dream 11 – Introduction

Legal NameDream11 Fantasy Private Limited
HeadquartersMumbai, India
FoundersHarsh Jain & Bhavit Sheth
IndustryFantasy Gaming
Founded Year2008
Parent Organization/OwnerDream Sports
Valuation$8 billion (as of March 2023)
Monthly Active UsersOver 120 million
Contests PlayedOver 100 million per month
Prize Money DistributedOver ₹10,000 crore (US$1.25 billion)

Dream11 is a mobile application that enables users to create fantasy sports teams. The unique aspect of this platform is that users get the opportunity to earn monetary rewards based on the actual performance of the players they select for their teams. Every successful move made by these players translates into cash rewards for the users. Additionally, Dream11 offers its users a chance to participate in various sports categories including Cricket, Football, Kabaddi and National Basketball Association (NBA).

Dream11 is one of the leading sports gaming platforms in India, which successfully attracted 100 million users in 2020, with this number increasing to 140 million in 2021. In contrast, the app had only 2 million registered users in 2016. The passion for sports attracts many individuals, and there are also people who have a deep understanding of various sports. Dream11 provides a unique platform for such sports lovers to leverage their knowledge and love for the game. Currently, the platform has a user base of over 150 million.

Founder of Dream11

Dream11, a leading name in the fantasy sports industry, was founded in the year 2008 by two dynamic and sports-loving entrepreneurs, Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth.

Harsh Jain (Co-Founder and CEO, Dream11)

Harsh Jain, Co-Founder and CEO of Dream11, is an alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania with an MBA from Columbia Business School. Prior to Dream11, he orchestrated the successful acquisition of Red Digital, a leading social media agency, by Gozoop. Harsh Jain’s visionary mission with Dream11 is to engage sports fans through innovative, real-time gaming modules. He currently holds the respected position of President of the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports and serves as the Chief Cultural Enforcement Officer (CEO) and co-founder of Dream11.

Furthermore, Harsh Jain notably is a descendant of Anand Jain, a highly respected and accomplished businessman. Anand Jain serves as the Chairman of Jai Corp Limited and Urban Infrastructure Venture Capital Limited and is often identified as the third son of Dhirubhai Ambani. Harsh Jain’s father Anand Jain has maintained close ties with the Reliance Group for over 25 years and was even featured as the 11th richest person in India in Forbes’ 2007 list of the 40 richest .

Bhavit Sheth (Co-Founder and COO, Dream11)

Bhavit Sheth, co-founder and COO of Dream11, is an engineer with an MBA from Bentley University in Boston and a diploma in e-commerce strategies from Harvard. He co-founded Dream11 with Harsh Jain in 2008 and continues to serve as the company’s COO. As COO, Sheth’s primary focus is to deliver the best, most reliable and user-centric experiences through operational excellence across all company processes. Bhavit Sheth was also the co-founder of Red Digital with Harsh, which was later acquired by Gozoop. His previous experiences include the role of Financial Research Intern at Bilao Information Services LLP and Quality Assurance Internship at Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd.

It is noteworthy that the majority ownership of Dream11 is in the hands of its founders, which has been confirmed by anonymous sources associated with the company.

As of last reported data in August 2020, Dream11 had a workforce of 542 employees. Although the exact numbers may evolve, LinkedIn currently lists the total Dream11 workforce at more than 1400.

Dream11’s work culture is often described by its employees as enthusiastic and sports-oriented. The company is renowned for fostering a comfortable working environment where Dream11 team members have the opportunity to engage in recreational activities to break the monotony. In 2019, Dream11 was recognized by Great Place to Work as one of India’s Great Mid Sized Workplaces in its list of India’s 50 Great Mid Sized Workplaces.

How does Dream11 work?

Dream11 stands as a leading fantasy sports platform, enabling users to create virtual teams consisting of real professional athletes from different sports genres such as cricket, football, basketball, etc. The basic premise of Dream11 is to immerse users in a fantasy sports league, where they take on the role of team owners and participate in mixed competitions to earn rewards based on the actual on-field performance of their chosen athletes.

Here’s a detailed description of how Dream11 operates:

#1 Registration on Dream 11 App

Users must complete the registration process by signing up and setting up an account on the Dream11 platform. This usually requires providing personal details and accepting the terms and conditions of the platform.

#2 Select a game

After registration, users have the ability to select from a wide variety of games available on the platform. These options include popular options like Cricket, Football, Kabaddi, Basketball and more.

#3 Participation in Contests

Users can locate and participate in various contests, each with different entry fees and prize pools. These competitions exhibit variability in terms of the number of participants and the specific rules they follow. While some competitions are available for free, others require an entry fee.

#4 Forming a team

In the context of each competition, users are allocated a virtual budget and are tasked with forming a team within this predefined budget. The team composition consists of actual athletes involved in live matches or games. Users must adhere to budgetary constraints while selecting a specific number of players for each position (e.g., batsman, bowler, all-rounder in cricket).

#5 Nominating a Captain and Vice-Captain

Users should take important decisions by nominating a captain and vice-captain from their chosen team. Typically, the captain earns double points, while the vice-captain earns 1.5 times the standard point value. This decision holds considerable importance given its potential impact on the overall score.

#6 Scoring Mechanism

Dream11 employs a structured scoring system, which awards points to athletes based on their real-time game performance. Points are awarded for a range of actions such as runs, wickets, catches, assists, goals and more, depending on the respective sport. The scoring system may vary depending on the sport in question.

#7 Monitoring real matches

As live matches unfold, users’ fantasy teams collect points based on the actual performance of the athletes they have selected. The platform provides live scoring updates to keep users informed in real-time.

#8 Announcement of results and awards

After the conclusion of the actual matches, fantasy teams are ranked according to the cumulative points earned by them. Users achieving the highest scores in a contest emerge as prize winners, which include cash, merchandise, or other incentives, depending on the terms of the specific contest.

#9 Withdrawal of Winnings

Users have the option to withdraw their winnings from their Dream 11 account, transfer the funds to their bank accounts or employ them for entering additional contests.

Dream11 – Startup Story | History and beginnings

Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth, both sports enthusiasts since childhood, joined forces to establish Dream 11, the foremost fantasy sports application in the industry. His entrepreneurial journey was inspired by the advent of the Indian Premier League (IPL), which provided the perfect catalyst for the emergence of the fantasy sports sector. In a country filled with billions of cricket fans, Harsh and Bhavit envisioned a golden opportunity to offer sports fantasy leagues as an engaging service.

Harsh Jain, an alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia Business School, completed his studies and returned to India with a determination to solve challenges in the fantasy gaming sector. Eager to find a quicker and more efficient solution, he extended an invitation to others to join him in this venture. Despite facing skepticism from many quarters, Harsh’s college classmate and confidant, Bhavit Sheth, decided to align his vision with Harsh’s, setting the stage for a remarkable partnership.

In 2012, the company unveiled its inaugural freemium service, marking the beginning of its extraordinary journey. With this, they embarked on a mission to secure investments by actively engaging with potential stakeholders who share their vision and invited them to participate in this promising venture.

Dream11 – Business Model and How it Works

  • No Ad Monetization: Dream11 does not generate revenue through ads from Google or other advertising agencies. Their business model primarily revolves around hosting fantasy sports on their platform.
  • User Experience Priority: Although they initially experimented with Google AdSense, they eventually discontinued this practice to maintain a straightforward and efficient user experience.
  • Low conversion to paying users: Only 10% of Dream11 players participate in competitions that require payment. Converting free users to paying customers is challenging and often requires significant resources.
  • Diverse Gaming Options: Dream11 was the pioneer to introduce a private fantasy gaming app in India. They offer three different gaming options – freemium, premium and private – to meet the diverse preferences of fantasy sports players looking to make money.
  • Commission-based earnings: Dream11 charges more than 20% of the total amount earned in both big and small leagues. This commission structure was reported in September 2020. Every contest you enter has a predetermined commission.
  • Competitive Differentiation: While some competing websites like HalaPlay or MyTeam11 offer lower commissions and even waive fees for private competitions, Dream11 remains the preferred choice for many. A major reason for this preference is the ability to create customized competitions, such as creating your own cricket team, especially when playing with friends or teams. Even in such scenarios, Dream11 earns a minimum of 20% in fees, ensuring that they continue to generate revenue while users enjoy their gaming experience.

Dream11 – Revenue Model

Dream11’s revenue model operates at two key levels:

  1. Entry-level fees: Dream11 generates revenue by charging entry fees from participants who want to join paid competitions on their platform.
  2. Commission on Wins: In addition to the entry fee, Dream11 earns revenue by taking a percentage of the total prize pool when users earn prizes based on the real-time performance of the players they select. As of December 2023, this commission typically ranges from 15% to 20% of the total prize pool, contributing significantly to their overall earnings.

In conclusion 

This is the conclusion of Dream11’s business model, and I hope you have got a clear understanding of it. It is important to note that we do not endorse gambling, as it can be addictive. However, we understand that people are interested in exploring different business models, which is why we wrote this article.

Getting started with fantasy sports game apps is relatively simple. We have experience in building apps with concepts like Dream11 for our clients. If you are interested in creating your own app, please feel free to contact us.

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