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New Delhi: A majority of fans have claimed that their interest in fantasy sports has helped them follow various types of sports more than before, according to a joint report by Kantar and The Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), a self-regulatory industry body, released on Friday.

The report, based on a survey among 1,434 respondents who engage with online fantasy sports (OFS), stated that around 60% of users claim to now watch/follow sports more than before because of fantasy sports. 87% of those who play fantasy sports claim that they now research/ browse more information to be able to make a better strategy when playing fantasy sports.

Around 59% have started watching new types of sports because of their interest in fantasy sports. After starting to play fantasy sports, 48% of users now watch every game irrespective of team or country. 38% of users lookup social media updates as sources of information for sports content

Television remains the primary source for watching/following various sports with 51% claiming to consume sports content for more than five hours a week after playing fantasy sports.

John Loffhagen, chairman, FIFS said when sports fans create their own virtual teams on OFS platforms before the match start time, they consume a lot of sports content online to do their research.

“After the match begins, OFS users watch the sports match closely to check on the performance of the players they have selected and their own ranking on the leader board. Fantasy sports is thereby supporting the increase in consumption of overall sports including longtail and non-mainstream," he explained.

According to Anand Parameswaran, executive vice-president, insights division, Kantar, the insights on the changed behavioural patterns of fantasy sports users such as higher involvement in sports, using multiple mediums to stay updated on sports news along with an increased interest in sports beyond cricket offers a new perspective on the evolution and impact of fantasy sports in India.

"It is in complete coherence with the hypothesis we set out to prove, and has additionally shed some light on how we have moved beyond the cricket-only nation," he said.

The survey was conducted among fantasy sports users, predominantly male, and a mix of masters students, salaried and self-employed professionals.

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