The first-of-its-kind academic study, titled ‘Fantasy Sports: A Game of Skill or Chance’, was led by Professor Dinesh from IIMB and Dr Ramasubramanian Sundararajan. The two employed statistical hypotheses techniques used on actual, anonymised fantasy sports data to test ‘skill dominance’ based on three years of data provided by Dream11, a prominent fantasy sports platform.
A press note said, “basis various hypotheses tests and detailed analysis of the data set, sufficient evidence was found to establish that Dream11’s format of fantasy sports is skill dominant.”
The IIMB & Cartesian research also found that users who assess the past performance of players during captain and vice-captain selection “tend to have higher average scores than other players”, proving substantial skill improvement over time. It found that player selection involves skillful assessment of their past performance and randomly selected players only led to lower scores. Also, users playing for money were getting higher scores, “proving they are playing more strategic game”.
Dr. U Dinesh Kumar, Professor, Decision Sciences, IIM Bangalore said that the question of “Skill vs Chance” dominance was converted into an analytics and statistics problem on which multiple well- known hypothesis testing techniques were used to understand the data. “We found strong evidence that learning, consistency and strategy-based usage affect the outcome in Dream11’s format of fantasy sports. The inferences indicated that player selection has a huge influence on achieving high scores, therefore establishing that performance on the Dream11 platform is skill dominant.” He said the case has been published in the Harvard Business Review and is available in 75 countries across more than 410 universities.
Dr Ramasubramanian Sundararajan, Head-AI, Cartesian Consulting, said this new rapidly growing industry caught their attention and they wanted to find out more about the sports fan engagement that can be achieved through tech innovations like fantasy sports. “This report helps to understand how a user prepares and strategically plans his teams thereby determining the level of skill in Dream11’s format of fantasy sports.”
Earlier, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had dismissed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) challenging its order on Dream11’s fantasy sports format as a game of skill. Recently, a division bench of the Bombay High Court has also ruled that fantasy sports Dream11 format is a game of skill and does not amount to either gambling or betting.