New Delhi- Nearly 12,000 matches a year across 12 disciplines, 308 million requests per minute during a fantasy cricket tournament and 150 million users engaging with the platform. It’s about numbers, technology — and the vision to make sports better, says Dream Sports Chief Technology Officer Amit Sharma.
Combining the thrill of live sports and the excitement of online gaming, fantasy sports platform Dream 11, Dream Sports’ flagship brand, is about strategy based online sports where you can create a virtual team of real players playing in real life matches. Points are won based on all the players’ performance in a live game.
“During the Indian Premier League (IPL), we see significant growth – on the first day of the TATA IPL 2023, our user concurrency (concurrent traffic) was 10.56 million and we on-boarded more than one million new users,” Sharma told PTI.
In Sharma’s view, technology will bridge the gap between sports and sports fans. “Hence we keep innovating and experimenting for our user base of 160 million across Dream Sports.” Dream11 is the world’s largest fantasy sports platform with more than 150 million users playing fantasy cricket, football, kabaddi, basketball, hockey, volleyball, handball, rugby, futsal, American football and baseball on it.
Dream Sports is also growing its presence in sports travel and experiences with DreamSetGo, building fintech for sports with DreamX and making strategic investments to develop the sports tech ecosystem through its venture capital and CVC (Corporate Venture Capital) arm, Dream Capital, Sharma said.
India, he noted, is one of the largest fantasy sports markets in the world. What started with less than 10 operators in 2016 has now scaled to 200-plus.
Amazon Web Services was a “natural cloud partner” to turn to, Sharma said. After partnering with it, Dream11 has seen increased efficiency, smoother business operations and significantly lower costs.
Excerpts from the interview: Q: Can you elaborate on the growth of Dream11 and key milestones over the last few years? A: India is home to a billion sports fans spread across the country. Dream11 has 150 million users who engage with their favourite sports on our platform. We host close to 12,000 matches a year across 12 sports and rely heavily on data to make the fantasy sports experience personalised, engaging and seamless for our users. During the IPL, we see significant growth – on the first day of the TATA IPL 2023, our user concurrency was 10.56 million and we on-boarded more than one million new users.
This has been made possible through our focus on using technology to scale our platform and improve our offerings for both new and existing users. In order to innovate and build the future of tech, we focus on hiring from India’s leading tech institutes and upskilling to stay ahead of the curve.
Q: What kind of growth are you targeting and what strategy will the platform follow to further expand user base in the coming years, in fantasy sports arena? A: Our vision for Dream Sports is to make sports better. Dream11 is today the world’s largest fantasy sports platform with over 150 million users. To propel growth, we are diversifying and making forays into new tech frontiers like Web3 and NFTs (non-fungible token) and growing our network of partnerships with sports leagues, players and teams.
As we scale our existing platforms, Dream Sports is also growing its presence in sports travel and experiences with DreamSetGo, building fintech for sports with DreamX and making strategic investments to develop the sports tech ecosystem through our venture capital and CVC arm, Dream Capital.
We want to build India’s capacity for innovation in areas like sports and sports-tech, gaming, Web3, fintech and fitness-tech, and aim to complement entrepreneurs with strategy, product, and marketing knowledge that is not typically accessible, especially at an early stage.
We focus on solving user problems through cutting-edge tech and acquire new users through hyper-personalisation and features that deepen fan engagement. We believe that technology will bridge the gap between sports and sports fans and hence we keep innovating and experimenting for our user base of 160 million across Dream Sports.
Q: At what rate is the fantasy sports market growing in India? How is the company positioned to leverage this opportunity? A: India is one of the largest fantasy sports markets in the world. What started with less than 10 operators in 2016 has now scaled to 200-plus. The gaming industry in India is a USD 3 billion market, with at least 500 million gamers. This is expected to grow to USD 20 billion by 2030. Increasing demand for access from Tier II and III markets will lead to new user acquisition.
At Dream Sports, we are focussed on building India’s sports tech ecosystem through strategic investments via our PE and CVC business, Dream Capital and investments in new technologies and talent.
Q: What is the infrastructure, data and tech, driving Dream11 platform? Could you talk about some of the complexities and challenges given the massive scale handled, especially during peak season? A: Dream11 has implemented data-driven engineering and emerging tech like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and big data to offer a world-class user experience. This has helped our teams to quickly test out new features, scale tests in load/stress environments and drive maximum efficiency.
Our platform is dependent on the team’s reliable architecture that supports our user base during major spikes on the application and peak requests where we receive approximately 308 million requests per minute (about five million requests per second) during marquee tournaments like the IPL.
Q: How do you ensure data security, given the massive number of users on the platform? A: Achieving the right balance with AI, big data and ML, cloud requires constant monitoring, regular user feedback loops, human judgement and good governance practices.
At Dream11, we have an in-house fraud detection system called FENCE (Fairplay Ensuring Network Chain Entity). Our ML models detect fraud movements and fake accounts on our app and ensure timely action is taken. We follow approved industry standards to protect personal information submitted to us, both during transmission and for storage and disposal of the same.
Q: Can you describe the solution and the workloads you are running on AWS? What benefits have you experienced as a result of running on AWS? A: Dream11’s requirements of massive scale, high variance in peak concurrency and traffic, fast time-to-market as well as the flexibility to respond to changing requirements and needs, made being in the cloud the obvious choice. AWS, with its wide range of web services and solutions, and deep operational experience was a natural cloud partner to turn to.
Over the years, our usage of AWS and the diversity of things we can use AWS for, has only increased. They have enhanced speed, strength and dexterity, and have permitted us to accomplish a lower variable expense.
After partnering with AWS, we have seen increased efficiency and smoother business operations. There has been significant deduction in costs while scaling and reduced time to market.