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New Kid on the Block Makes heads Turn with Unique Free to Play National Fantasy Cricket Championship

Fantasy leagues have witnessed massive growth in India in the past couple of years and undoubtedly cricket has played a huge role in its success. People have started investing their time in cricket fantasy leagues and its popularity has soared in similar way to the global phenomenon, Fantasy Premier League. And catching up to the latest trend and hoping on to the fantasy bandwagon is an up and coming cricket fantasy league, BalleBaazi.com. BalleBaazi.com have entered this uber competitive market with a unique idea launching India’s first-ever National Fantasy Cricket Championship (NFCC) which is a free to all competition. The tournament has been receiving major participation and resulted in a major surge in the users on the platform.

After the huge success of the NFCC, Mr Saurabh Chopra, CEO, BalleBaazi.com, exclusively gave an insight to Cricketnext.com about their strategy to launch a free to all competition.

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“The thought behind the National Fantasy Cricket Championship (NFCC) was to give a structure and offer that one property for fantasy sports and cricket lovers to associate with. With the novel free-to-play NFCC, we wanted to give all the cricket fanatics in the country an opportunity to showcase their skills and knowledge of the game and at the same time establish a formalized structure for a national level fantasy tournament. NFCC is the first fully structured tournament of the Fantasy Sports world. It is divided into qualifiers, quarterfinals, semi-finals and then a grand finale, all in sync with the organization of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. The ongoing tournament has a total of 33 matches with the first thirty being qualifier chances ONE, TWO and Three. Eventually, the 11 final champions of the game will get a chance to meet Zaheer Khan and 1 winner will get to travel to the mecca of cricket, Lord’s Cricket Ground in England,” Saurabh told CricketNext.com.

He explained that the NFCC was launched to change the mindset of the people that the Online Fantasy Sports platforms are only about making money. “Further, we wanted to remove the stigma that often plagues the Online Fantasy Sports (OFS) platforms that it is “only about the money” and make it “all about the glory” that one can earn by winning such a tournament. So far, we have received an overwhelming response from the tournament and the numbers are only on the rise,” he said.

“The NFCC also marks the beginning of the association between BalleBaazi and their new Brand Ambassador Zaheer Khan. The top 11 winners of the tournament will also get a chance to meet Zaheer Khan and 1 winner will be allowed to take an all expenses paid trip to Lord’s Cricket Ground.”

Saurabh admitted that Khan will bring further trust and credibility to the fantasy league which also happened with Yuvraj Singh’s in the past.

“Zaheer is not just the face for NFCC but the entire brand of BalleBaazi.com. Zaheer is a legend of the game and his association with us is just like that of Yuvraj Singh earlier. This association will bring in further trust and credibility for BalleBaazi.com. Our association with Zaheer was announced just before we were about to roll out NFCC and his representation in the tournament reflected very well for us,” Saurabh said.

“We’re amid the tournament and more than 16.50 lakhs teams have already been formed by more than 1,19,090 unique users. In addition to the existing patrons, we’re seeing many new players joining the league and I would say this is just the beginning of greater things to come.”

Saurabh also talked about getting the former India pacer on board and said the plan was to complete a circle from one of the legendary batsmen (Yuvraj) to one of the best pacers of India.

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“When we sat down on our marketing strategy, one thing we were certain about was that we wanted to onboard someone who is a legend of the game and has made an impact in the World Cup. Zaheer Khan is one such ace cricketer in the truest of sense. Earlier, we had associated with Yuvraj Singh, who was also an inspiration for the billions of Indians both in the 2007 T20 World Cup and 2011 World Cup, and we wanted to continue with the same legacy. We thought that we are completing a circle from one of the legendary batsmen to one of the best pacers of all time in the history of Indian cricket,” he added.

Saurabh further talked about how T20 cricket has helped the fantasy platforms to increase their reach as he explained his point with the NFCC report of India’s matches in the ongoing T20 World Cup.

“T20 has indeed helped the fantasy sports platforms. It’s neither too long nor too short, which helps the users formulate a better strategy while selecting their best performers for a particular match. The India matches are a huge attraction, for instance, in the ongoing NFCC India vs New Zealand match witnessed 62,000 plus unique users and India vs Pakistan match saw more than 68,000 unique users on the platforms which is not only good for the tournament but also for the overall engagement on the platform,” he said.

Saurabh, who is an ardent cricket follower, said Ballebaazi.com has made the fantasy league more entertaining for the other formats by offering them the option of making teams for separate innings in all three formats of the game.

“While T20s continue to be the premier attraction, we cannot ignore the other formats. Since, our love for the game knows no bounds and to ensure that the original format i.e., the Tests, gets traction too. We offer Innings Fantasy in all the 4 innings and mid-innings in ODIs and T20Is as well. We also have batting and bowling fantasy formats to further ensure traction in all formats of the game,” he said.

The year 2021 was great in terms of back-to-back major cricketing events – IPL 2021 and T20 World Cup but it will not be the same in 2022. There will be a huge gap between the tournaments and Saurabh is already working with his marketing to counter it next year.

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“While 2021 has been a great year for the Fantasy Sports and Online gaming sector but the sudden rush of key tournaments only took place because of the pandemic throwing everyone off the schedule. Even we had to rethink and rework our marketing as well as innovative strategies to match the new calendar of events, particularly when it comes to the staggered IPL. Even during the gap period, there will be certain key fixtures especially when it comes to cricket. So, we will be concentrating on the same and as I stated earlier, we will start building up to the upcoming IPL as it will be bigger and better,” Saurabh said.

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