Dream 11 Fantasy Sports app Review

One of the things that the sports scene in India was truly lacking, was the presence of a full-fledged Fantasy sports platform. While the most popular sports leagues around the world have fantasy leagues and corresponding applications of their own, the demand for something indigenous was quite loud and it all changed with the introduction of Dream 11. Before we dissect the Dream11 app and platform, let us first take a quick look at how Fantasy Sport operates.

What are Fantasy Sports?

If you are someone who has played the popular Fantasy Premier League before, you will have a good idea about what Fantasy Sports really is. But, if you are one of the uninitiated, this is how it works. Say you are playing a football/soccer fantasy league, you will build your own team comprised of 11 players and a few substitutes, and then through the course of the season, the players in your fantasy team will earn points for their performances in every game they play, and the fantasy team with the largest haul of points at the end of the season wins the Fantasy league. But, like any other competition, there are always some rules that govern how you can pick your team and how the scores are distributed based on performance. 

Some people call this a game of pure luck, while repeat players will argue that there is an element of knowledge you need, in order to really field a winning fantasy team.

Fantasy leagues have expanded to the most popular sports around the world, and each of these fantasy leagues draws in thousands of users who are all out to be the best of the rest.

Joining a Fantasy sports league platform is free and involves a simple sign-up procedure and an optional installation of a companion app on your smartphone. However, the catch is that participating in some of the contests within the Fantasy league may be charged by the platform, therefore making the whole Fantasy Sports genre, a freemium one. 

At Techplugged, we have indulged in some of the Fantasy leagues through the years, including the fantasy leagues for the Premier League, Formula One, NBA, and even the recently concluded UEFA Euro Championship, and although we have found it difficult to win these leagues, the overall experience has been fun as we have not really spent a single penny to participate. 

This is where things start to divert when it comes to Dream 11.

What exactly is Dream 11?

To put it in plain language, Dream11 is a freemium fantasy sports app that allows you to participate in fantasy matchups in the world of cricket, football, hockey, basketball, and even kabaddi. The difference is that these fantasy teams have to be made per match rather than the more conventional seasonal line-ups, and the other thing is that in order to enter a fantasy matchup on Dream 11, there is a nominal charge that you have to pay. This charge then becomes part of a prize pool that is distributed to eligible accounts at the end of the matchup. In a way, you can say that this is a form of legalized betting, which may not be the absolute purest thing in some people’s eyes. 

 

 

The platform was put started by Harsh Jain & Bhavit Sheth in 2008. In 2012, they introduced freemium fantasy sports in India for cricket fans. In 2014, the company reported 1 million registered users, which grew to 2 million in 2016 and to 45 million in 2018. In April 2019, Steadview Capital completed a secondary investment in Dream11. Apart from Steadview, Dream11’s investors included Kalaari Capital, Think Investments, Multiples Equity, and Tencent.

We were intrigued by the Dream11 platform due to its whole pay-to-play model and thus, we decided to download the app and give it a shot.

The Dream11 app

Ok, this is where things get a bit tricky. Due to the multiple lawsuits against Dream11, and their ambiguous description, the app is no longer available for download on the Google Play store on Android devices. This means that if you want to play on Dream11 and you have an Android device, you will have to sideload the app from a verified source. The reason it is not on the Google Play store is the fact that Google does not allow apps that indulge in cash contests. The whole price pot makes the Dream11 platform a sort of cash contest, and as a result, is not a part of the Play Store.

 

 

The Apple App store is, however, a bit more open-minded in this regard and we were, fortunately, able to download the legal app onto our device. 

On first boot, the first thing you will be required to do is to sign up for the Dream11 platform. If you have an account, you can simply sign in, but if not, then your only option is to sign up. Now, most Fantasy sports apps or websites allow you to sign up using existing accounts like Google, Facebook, and more recently, even your Apple ID. But, when it comes to Dream11, the ONLY way you can sign up to the platform, is via your mobile number. Yes, you need to enter your mobile number, and you receive an OTP on your mobile number via SMS. You must then enter this OTP into the sign-up screen and then you are done. 

 

 

Once done, you can set a display name for your account and even set a display picture if you so desire. We decided not to get very personal on the platform as it was just an experiment, but if you are someone who likes this kind of personalization, you are free to do so. You will also have to verify that you are above the age of 18 and submit a digital copy of your PAN card in order to activate payments. 

 

 

The interface on the home screen is pretty straightforward. You have various tabs arranged in a sort of carousel style. Each tab represents one sport and under the tab, you have a list of upcoming matches that you can create a fantasy line-up for. In the case of cricket, the matches that show up are matches that are happening all over the world, so there is no restriction on the location of the matches. The same holds good for other sports as well. For example, if there is a licensed basketball match happening somewhere in Africa, you will find it on the list.  

 

 

On the top right-hand side of the app home screen, you will see a wallet icon where you can load in some money that you can use for entering the fantasy matchups. Next to the wallet icon, you will see a bell icon that represents the notifications. You will get alerts about matchups upcoming and also the status of your existing fantasy matchups.

Now, let’s talk about the wallet feature once again. The whole idea of the wallet feature on the Dream11 app is to make it easy for dedicated users to quickly enter a matchup. Loading money for each and every matchup sometimes takes time, and if there is a connectivity issue, then there are chances that the transaction may fail and your entry will be rejected. Loading the wallet with currency allows you to instantly enter the fantasy matchup without going through the hassle of initiating a fresh transaction. How do you add money into your wallet?

 

 

Dream11 allows you to add money to your in-app wallet via your debit card or even via your UPI apps. You can add a custom amount or pick from pre-set amounts on the apps. This is all you need to do in order to get started with the app. The whole process took us just a couple of minutes and we were good to start participating in the fantasy match-ups.

UPDATE – At the time of writing, due to legal restrictions, residents of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Karnataka, Nagaland, Odisha, Sikkim, and Telangana cannot add cash or join pay to play contests on Dream11. 

How to participate in Fantasy matchups on Dream11

Since we are cricket buffs, we decided to try our hand at one of the upcoming cricket matches. Surprisingly, participating in a fantasy matchup is simple, but before we get into it, let’s take a look at what a matchup card looks like on Dream11.

Heading to the cricket tab on the home page, we saw a lot of upcoming cricket matches, and the match card consists of the following information – 

  1. The teams that are playing
  2. The cricket league that the match is a part of
  3. The line-up update (Whether line-ups are out or not) It is best to set up your line-up after the line-up has been announced as it allows you to pick the players that are playing, rather than guessing the line-up beforehand.
  4. Time to go before the match begins
  5. Size of the prize pot (This shows the largest prize pot)

From here, you can see the list of matches, and if there is a match that you feel you can do great at, tap on it, and you will be taken to a fresh page where you will now see a list of different prizes pots under various categories. 

There is a mega contest that has the largest prize pot of the lot, but it also allows a large number of teams to enter this prize pot. It allows you to have up to 20 entries of your own to increase your chances of winning the ultimate prize. The mega contest card gives you all the relevant details and also tells how many users will actually win money at the end of the matchup.  

 

 

Next, we have head-to-head contests where only two users go head-to-head for prize money. The prize pot is decided by the person initiating the head-to-head, and the second entrant must pay 50% of the prize pot in order to participate. 

 

 

Third, we have the large winnings section, where the prize pot is large but the number of entries is limited. This ensures that the winning teams walk away with a larger pay day, sometimes larger than the mega contest as well. 

 

 

Finally, we have the winner takes all. As the name suggests, you pay the entry fee, but rather than splitting the earnings across a percentage of entrant teams, the winning team takes it all. This is one of the most high-risk categories and definitely not for the faint-hearted. 

You can pick the contest you like and once you make the entry, you will be taken to the team selection screen, where you will be instructed on how you can pick your team, and you will be given a virtual budget of 100 tokens to draft your team. This is where your knowledge of the teams and intuition comes into play. Go through the players available and pick a team of players that you think, will really do well in real life. 

 

 

Confirm the team and on submission, the waiting game begins. Once the match begins, you can either follow the live telecast or catch up on the update on your phone, because other than that, there is nothing you can do. Once the match is over, you can check up on your team, and see how they have done. If your team of players did well and they have slotted into the winning percentage of teams that are eligible for a payday, you will be given the pre-decided amount into your wallet. You can then withdraw funds from the wallet into your bank and then decide your next match-up.

When it comes to setting up and participating, Dream11 makes it look and feel like an absolute breeze. The number of stems involved is minimal and once the team is set up, as we mentioned, your job is done.

If we were to rate the app only on the basis of setup and ease of use, it would easily get an 8/10. Personally, I would have loved the option to sign up or sign in with your social accounts as the whole mobile number concept is something I don’t find comfortable. The other problem that arises is the controversial status it currently holds in India.

The controversies surrounding Dream11

Since its inception, Dream11 has been subject to a lot of criticism from various sections of society in India. The freemium nature of the app has been questioned by regular fantasy players, who feel that the paywall must go in order to make the fantasy sport a whole lore mot enjoyable. 

Some people even classified this app to be a front for illegal gambling practices, with some religious players claiming that no matter how well the team did, Dream11 ensured that their own employees were the ones who were declared the winners in order to keep the money of the prize pot within the company.

To this effect, a lawsuit was even filed in the Indian High Court, which decreed that the Dream11 games required superior knowledge on the part of the players and also held that the whole platform involved an element of skill, thereby shrugging off all claims of malpractice. However, there are some states where fantasy sports are not allowed, and although Dream11 filed a case against this policy, the app is still banned in the concerned states.

As mentioned earlier, all of these factors rendered the app nonexistent on the Google Play Store and thereby disabled Android users from obtaining the app for their devices through legal channels.

All of these controversies have not stopped Dream11 from going absolutely ham towards their promotions, and as such, they have attracted some prominent names to be their ambassadors.

In Conclusion

When it comes to fantasy sports apps, Dream11 definitely pushes the envelope to include a paywall that comes off as a mixed bag in terms of user perception. Yes, their format is a bit more competitive, but honestly, there are ways to make fantasy sport a lot more competitive without bringing in the whole pay-to-play format. 

As an app, we liked how user-friendly the developers have made it, and we even found it easy to set up and upload the documents that were needed to unlock the whole experience.

However, when we indulged in a few matches, paying real money to no avail, we realized that no matter how reserved you are, the game does induce a feeling of addiction, and you really need to know when to draw the line, or you can easily end up burning through your wallet with no guarantee of making back the money you lost. So, in conclusion, we can confidently say that Dream11 has been brave enough to start something that was once just a thought in India, and you can definitely give it a try, provided your state has not banned it. However, do play responsibly, make sure you are above 18 years of age, and do not get addicted to this.