The Masked Fantasy Expert Who Ruling Fantasy Sports

How many of us love stories of superheroes wearing capes at night and fighting crime in and around the city while also living their usual life during the time of day. What if we told you that a similar life is being led by the owner of Fantasy Arena (mayankglt), Mayank whose surname is as big a secret as his original identity. Even his fans or like he calls them #GLTFamily have been starved over this question.

Well, we at FanBlaze managed to catch our superhero for a fun chat about how and when he took the fantasy sports route and what was his life like before 121K subscribers on YouTube.

Q: How much of an edge does it give you being the ‘masked man’ of this industry?

Well, it obviously sparks a lot of curiosity. I have been getting endless messages from my followers on social media, “Come on tell us who you are, it’s been 5 years.” There are so many fantasy cricket/sports experts that have made showing their face a norm and my strategy from the very beginning was clear. I have a regular day job and while it may not cause any problems at work, I always wanted to keep this a secret with me and very few close ones because I don’t like to mix my professional work life with doing what I love. My basic template has always been putting on a notes screen and narrating the course of the game.

Q: So who is Mayank when he is not making fantasy teams or should I ask about the Bruce Wayne side to your Batman?

Well, Bruce is an engineer in the Food technology branch, born and brought up in Lucknow. I pursued my Btech from Allahabad and MBA in operations. I have worked for companies like ITC, Nestle and my current profile is that of an Assistant Manager in food fortification. I was also a part of the team that was auditing the food for athletes in the commonwealth games that were hosted in Delhi. As a kid I was very much into sports of all kinds, I was a finalist in the table tennis under 22 competition but unfortunately my semester exams happened at that time. I was my college captain in Cricket, Volleyball and especially in Volleyball, I have led my college in the North East India competition. So from the beginning I have been a sports buff but my mother would always want me to grow academically rather than taking any other route. In fact, very early in my life, I started wearing heavily powered specs because I used to play a lot of video games in the darkness of my room. 

In my personal life, only my wife and family know about what I do in fantasy sports and even though they don’t completely understand it they’re always very supportive now and most importantly I am more than sure of what I am doing in my life.

Q: Why and when did you decide to do something apart from your job since you already had a good working profile?

So, the beginning and reason behind starting all this was pretty tragic. When I passed out of college, there was a gap of 3-4 months from my joining and during that period my father started facing a lot of issues in his job. Even though he was a government employee, his organization was not able to pay salaries to him and his co-workers. I was not working and my sister who is 2 years younger was studying so there was no bread earner in the family at that time. My father went into depression for those 4 months because he got these thoughts of not being able to support the family and that is when I began to realize that having a job only will not satisfy your needs because any day anything can happen. Those 4 months taught me that you must have a side hustle that you love doing or else in times of crisis you won’t be able to support yourself and your family. 

Interestingly, after a few days, I saw an ad of a fantasy sports company that had just begun operations in India and suddenly I went back to the days of espn super selector. I was really intrigued by the idea of fantasy cricket since then and because I had played so much myself, I knew I could do something in this industry. Pro Kabaddi was going on at that time and that was when I downloaded my first fantasy sports application and started playing.

Q: How was your first experience of fantasy sports and how did you transition into this fantasy expert?

So I first started playing with real money when Kabaddi came on to the scene in 2017. I was a huge fan of Kabaddi and then on 19th October I decided that look, no one is making relevant videos on this sport, people are literally predicting teams just on the basis of the previous game, so why not start making my own content. I remember the 1st video I made was at 3 am at night when everyone at home was asleep. Kabaddi gave me a lot of great results and because the variables in the sport are a lot less: it is purely on the skill of players while in cricket there are a number of variables that you count: starting from pitch to weather to the kind of ball that is being used. So fantasy kabaddi started giving me results but fame came all of a sudden in Bangladesh Premier league. There was a match that I covered and it absolutely boomed. My subscribers shot up from 50 to 550 from just that one video. It was then when I decided, I can do well and this can work wonders if I just be consistent and authentic. Today, I have a team that consists of content writers, social media people and even my wife is also a part of the team which feels great.

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Q: What do you think worked for you and how did this USP help you scale your YouTube channel?

There were many Youtubers who used to speak verbally and maybe open their fantasy app to display team making without explaining why they’re picking those set of players. When I started, I made sure I would back my choices with reasons, numbers and a lot of relevant data. I have a very poor memory so I prefer writing stuff down and same for my channel I downloaded ColorNote for that purpose. I wanted to be different so I started recording my screen of notes along with my voice and that formula seemed to work. Many channels have now duplicated the same trend and are doing pretty well. 

What helped the channel really scale up was the fact that I used to research on matches that not many people were playing. Women’s matches, Ranji matches, domestic tournaments, not many people like to get into the data of these matches and that is when I found the opportunity that was there. Along with that I used to research very deeply because in those days there was no rule of post toss fantasy team making, deadlines used to be just when the toss was about to get started. So, I used to go to the extent of reading local news papers of the teams that were involved for eg. there was a match when Colin Munro was missing from a particular franchise squad. Many were not expecting him to play the next match because he hadn’t been playing the tournament but it was I who had researched the local newspaper of the franchise involved and I discovered that he had landed on the venue where the game was to be played. Not every newspaper covers every sports news but only local newspapers go to that extent so that gave me a great edge and people started trusting me once my playing 11 was on point and they relied on me whenever there was player injury information or availability of players needed.

Overall, I think it’s actually the people who start recognising your work and once you start getting consistent results, that is when the channel really starts picking up. Now, we have a website, a dedicated app called by mayankglt which is being handled by my team so it does all depend on how the viewers are able to extract value out of your content at the end of the day.

Q: You have been associated with BalleBaazi for a long time now? What makes you vibe with the app and the company?

I have never met someone as understanding as Saurabh Chopra (CEO, BalleBaazi). He is the most understanding and kind person that I have worked with. There is a story why I gel so well with BalleBaazi because I think it was one of my first few partnerships in the beginning of my journey. A few days after the deal I got really sick and wasn’t able to do any promotions or deliver any videos. I thought that would be the end of my journey and I got in touch with him expressing how sorry I was that I haven’t been able to contribute anything to his company. He was surprisingly very kind and in fact, he told me he believed in what I was doing and gave me enough time to recover and then come back. I think that particular moment changed my life and I got more motivated and inspired to take on this journey because it’s beautiful when people are backing you when you’re down.

The BalleBaazi reward system was one idea that I had from a very long time, one that I wanted to share with the team. A few days ahead into discussion and there it was, the tech team was on it, the marketing team was promoting it like anything and that made me really happy because I understood my feedback as an affiliate or someone who’s a bridge between the product and the customer was being valued. The response to BalleBaazi rewards system has unsurprisingly been amazing and I think this is a team that never shies away from innovating. I have won so much money just from bowling fantasy as it gives me the flexibility to choose only 5 bowlers, I mean how cool is that!

Q: Alright Mayank, any fantasy tips you’d like to share with our readers and are you planning on revealing your identity anytime soon?

I think one tip that I always give to my viewers as well, is that people should be empowered enough to make their own fantasy teams. You can’t keep on winning just by copying and pasting my teams or any other influencer’s teams. My goal has always been to empower people, making them understand the logic of my team, the parameters I consider when I am making the teams and maintenance of bankroll at the same time. This is one underrated fact that most people, even experts do not consider.

About the identity thing, I am still waiting and hoping that fantasy sports is accepted widely in India without any exceptions of a few states that unfortunately are there right now. But as soon as our honorable government makes it 100% accessible to everyone, I’ll be more than happy to take the mask off.

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4 replies on “The Masked Fantasy Expert Who’s Ruling Fantasy Sports”

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  • March 31, 2022 at 1:01 am

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  • Sunil Misra
    February 5, 2022 at 11:03 am

    Wonderful and inspiring story.