SportsCafe aims to bring you updates of all Indian sports events happening across the globe
SportsCafe.in is an Indian Media & Gaming start up that aims in utilizing the latest technology to cover all sporting action specifically for the Indian sports fans. It targets a clear lacuna in online sports. It focuses on the fast growing crop of successful and popular Indian sportsperson and sports such as Badminton, Tennis, Football, Hockey, Kabaddi and Cricket.
Challenges faced and strategies
The biggest challenge that they faced was in building a user base from scratch and convincing people we brought something substantially different to the table. An user base was built with a three pronged strategy:
- Deliver highly engaging content.
- Substantial focus on social media especially Facebook like sharing tribute videos through IPL cricket series. Their tribute video on Vijender Singh was shared by Vijender itself.
- Building various fan pages to generate an enthusiastic user base.
Using ReactJS, a technology they incorporated latest trends in UI/UX where articles load in 3-4 seconds faster than any other content website out there. The Live MatchCentre built for Kabaddi by them provide score updates about 15 seconds faster than the official Star Sports website. Currently News Republic has tied-up with them to display MatchCentre to its users.
The goal moment
Last year in April, Yashashvi and Prabu were trying to follow Saina Nehwal at Swiss-Open and realized there weren’t any dedicated Indian sports websites which informs people about the match happenings and any of the importance surrounding it. The same was faced with Indian hockey too. After a lot of interactions with friends, they realized that while there are avenues to follow NBA, EPL, La Liga and even baseball online, when it came to Indian sports, most of the following was still heavily dependent on general news portals with no dedicated coverage. Sports in India had to move beyond copy pasting syndicated content from PTI and IANS. Adding some cool innovations to sporting leagues – ISL, PKL, Futsal, Premier Badminton, ITPL, International Hockey League is the Eureka moment.
The real team players
Currently they are team of about 4 writers, 3 marketers, about 40+ guest writers, 6 people on tech and a bunch of interns working with them. Most of their writers and marketing groups come from a football group on Facebook, that’s how the firs hiring started and hired about 7 people from one facebook group.
The core team includes
- Yashashvi (27) graduated from IIT and IIM is the CEO & In-charge.
- Prabu (30)-A JIPMER graduate, a practiced doctor for two years before doing his MBA from IIM- Ahmedabad is in charge of content.
- Gaurav (27)- An IIM Graduate and an Electronics Engineer is in charge of the gaming and partnerships.
- Sahil (30) – A NITian and IIM graduate is the Tech Guy.
- Ranaveer(25) – A Graduate with masters from the University Of Nottingham is the product/UI guy.
Thousands, lakhs and beyond
The website was launched in late October. From 10000 users in December, it grew up to 1.5L users in March and there are about 5 lakhs visitors till date. Though revenue generation is not a primary focus at the moment, recently they have started popping advertising on their website and are on talks with native adverts too. They are looking out for user base of around 1 crore.
Checkmate to the competitors
The content being completely original they have extensive coverage of all Indian sports with in-depth analysis as well as user engaging material balancing both the passion of a sports blog with the sincerity of a journalistic group. They believe in distribution of content in many forms which sync with today’s generation is a clear win scenario. Also with the foray in fantasy sport upcoming, they are willing to come step closer to be a single portal for all sporting needs.
- Advertisements on website & social media.
- Content syndication with other national & local news providers.
- Freemium model on gaming.
- Building technological solutions for enhanced coverage and monetising partnerships.
Product and its features
An android app was recently launched having features such as push notifications and Bookmarking articles on the app were the users can read the content using very little data.
Upcoming updates will inform people more about where they can watch the next ManU game live, fun sporting tid-bits etc. Having a live match centre for Pro-Kabaddi too.
An extensive coverage of the Indian contingent is been provided at Rio 2016 Olympics with a dedicated team to write on the Olympics including summary of the previous day’s events, features on the athletes, Indian stars to look out for, analysis of Indian Olympic history as well as a steady coverage of the biggest news surrounding the event. There is also a LIVE BLOG that will update every minute on all Indian action and major events.
SportsCafe has also partnered with major messaging platforms such as Hike Messenger and DailyHunt. There are ongoing talks with other media-partners as well for similar tie-ups.
They have just launched SportsCafe bot on Facebook messenger and will go live in the next couple of days. Being the first one to do so, it customizes the news feed in receiving updates on favorite sport person.
Their future ventures
Though SportsCafe has reached a million fans across pages, it didn’t stop there. Their future ventures are as follows.
- Targeting to launch SportsCafe Hindi by mid-August.
- Planning to launch a unique online prediction game around sports by mid September.
- Very soon they wanted to get into original video content as well as be a platform for UGC.