WHERE SPORTS MEETS TRAVEL

Marwar - - Con­tents - Text Be­naifer J Mirza

WHERE SPORTS MEETS TRAVEL Think of a com­pany that or­gan­ises of­fi­cial match tick­ets, flight tick­ets, lux­ury ac­com­mo­da­tion, sight­see­ing tours, fan en­gage­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties and a host of other be­spoke travel ser­vices for some of the world’s great­est sport­ing events. Meet Raghav Gupta, the founder of Fa­natic Sports—a com­pany that makes it all pos­si­ble for you.

Think of a com­pany that or­gan­ises of­fi­cial match tick­ets, flight tick­ets, lux­ury ac­com­mo­da­tion, ex­cit­ing sight­see­ing tours, unique fan en­gage­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties and a host of other be­spoke travel ser­vices for some of the world’s great­est sport­ing events. Meet Raghav Gupta, the founder of Fa­natic Sports—a com­pany that makes it all pos­si­ble for you.

I NDIA, AS A SPORT­ING NA­TION, HAS evolved im­mensely in the last few years. While the coun­try lit­er­ally lived and breathed cricket un­til a few years ago, to­day it is as pas­sion­ate about a num­ber of other sports. How­ever, while there was a lot hap­pen­ing around sports, there wasn’t much hap­pen­ing, if any­thing at all, in the area of com­bin­ing be­spoke sports, tick­et­ing and ex­pe­ri­en­tial travel so­lu­tions. Raghav Gupta de­cided to ad­dress this need with his com­pany Fa­natic Sports.

Elab­o­rat­ing on his start-up, Gupta shares, “Fa­natic Sports was born out of my pas­sion for sports. It is a com­pany by a sports fan, for sports fans. I felt there was a ma­jor gap in this sphere in In­dia, com­pared to the plethora of sports travel com­pa­nies abroad. More­over, the in­creas­ing craze for sports and the large num­ber of fans in In­dia made it a ready mar­ket for Fa­natic Sports.”

Hail­ing from the City of Joy, Gupta com­pleted his school­ing from La Mar­tiniere for Boys, Kolkata, and then pur­sued his un­der­grad­u­ate stud­ies in Busi­ness Man­age­ment and Fi­nance at IILM, Delhi. Af­ter re­ceiv­ing a for­mal de­gree in busi­ness, he got in­volved in his fam­ily busi­ness of steel man­u­fac­tur­ing, where he trained un­der his fa­ther, Av­inash Chan­dra Gupta, and un­cle, Narain Hari Gupta, look­ing into pur­chases and ac­counts. Baby steps to long strides With a catchy tag line that reads ‘Asia’s Lead­ing Sports Tick­et­ing & Ex­pe­ri­en­tial Travel Com­pany’, Fa­natic Sports has not just been able to gen­er­ate enough in­ter­est but also an im­pres­sive clien­tele that in­cludes some of the top names of the cor­po­rate world. This has helped it grow from strength to strength within a mat­ter of years. The com­pany was reg­is­tered in De­cem­ber 2013, but started func­tion­ing from 2014. Soon af­ter, it went on to be­come the only com­pany in Asia to be em­pan­elled with FIFA, In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil, World Rugby and In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­pany (IOC). It also be­came In­dia’s first-ever and the only com­pany to be reg­is­tered by the In­dian Olympic As­so­ci­a­tion and IOC for sale of tick­ets to the Rio Olympics. It now has sales rep­re­sen­ta­tions in In­dia, Sin­ga­pore, Hong Kong and Dubai. An IATA-ac­cred­ited com­pany, it of­fers cus­tomised cor­po­rate hospi­tal­ity and tours, sports travel pack­ages, and once-in-a-life­time ex­pe­ri­ences that com­bine sports with travel. Fur­ther, Fa­natic Sports’ net­work in­cludes some of the big­gest names in the world of sports such as Sachin Ten­dulkar, Vi­rat Kohli, Roger Fed­erer, Rafael

Nadal, Diego Maradona, Michael Phelps, Boris Becker, P V Sindhu, Viswanathan Anand, Deepa Ma­lik and Michael Clarke.

What makes Fa­natic Sports stand out from oth­ers is the per­son­alised ex­pe­ri­ences it cu­rates, based on each cus­tomer’s re­quire­ments. It takes pride in be­ing the only com­pany in In­dia that has rights for all ma­jor global sport­ing events, some of them be­ing ex­clu­sive rights. But, it hasn’t been a smooth run all along. Gupta re­calls his early days when get­ting ap­provals for li­cences for sport­ing events—without hav­ing any ex­pe­ri­ence in the travel in­dus­try—was the big­gest chal­lenge that he faced. And, as for cur­rent chal­lenges, he says, “Each event comes with its own chal­lenges and re­quire­ments, right from bid­ding for the li­cence to hand-hold­ing cus­tomers through the en­tire ex­pe­ri­ence—it all re­quires a ded­i­cated and trained team to make sure that there are no glitches.”

Asked if he could turn back time and do a few things dif­fer­ently, what would they be, he replies, “Noth­ing!” He goes on to ex­plain why: “Since Fa­natic Sports is a rev­o­lu­tion­ary and a new-age busi­ness, my team and I have been con­stantly learn­ing and evolv­ing the busi­ness. In ret­ro­spect, there are things that we could have done dif­fer­ently, but we would not like to rewind, as we be­lieve we are ex­tremely well-poised to be a global leader in this busi­ness.”

Speak­ing about the things he fo­cusses on or keeps in mind while de­sign­ing a cus­tomised itin­er­ary, Gupta says, “Each cus­tomer has re­quire­ments, in terms of bud­get, time, ath­letes, etc, which ex­cite them, and other ex­pe­ri­ences with which they would like to club their

Fa­natic Sports was born out of my pas­sion for sports. It is a com­pany by a sports fan, for sports fans. I felt there was a ma­jor gap in this sphere in In­dia, com­pared to the plethora of sports travel com­pa­nies abroad

sport­ing trips. Putting all these to­gether is our great­est chal­lenge as well as our big­gest strength.”

The fu­ture

While a lot has been achieved, prob­a­bly there’s still space and po­ten­tial for more. So, what lies ahead? “Fa­natic Sports strives to be a global leader in the busi­ness of sports, tick­et­ing, and hospi­tal­ity,” Gupta replies. "We are the only player glob­ally to have rights from the four lead­ing right hold­ers. Fur­ther, the launch of Blue Repub­lic, In­dia’s only ‘Team In­dia’ fan com­mu­nity, is our new project for 2018-19.”

Blue Repub­lic is a sleep­ing uni­corn (a start-up with great value po­ten­tial but still to be mo­bilised). The main pur­pose be­hind it, ac­cord­ing to Gupta, is to cre­ate a sub­scriber-based com­mu­nity of su­per-fans within Fa­natic Sports. He aims to ex­pand both Fa­natic Sports and Blue Repub­lic by leaps and bounds in the days to come.

In In­dia, mar­ry­ing travel with sports was an idea un­heard of, but Gupta has made it pos­si­ble. Fa­natic Sports has suc­cess­fully filled a much-re­quired gap by of­fer­ing cu­rated sports-cum-travel ex­pe­ri­ences. In fact, it has made In­dia proud by putting it on the world map of sports tick­et­ing and ex­pe­ri­en­tial trav­el­ling. Here’s hop­ing that this is just the be­gin­ning of a long, suc­cess­ful jour­ney with the best still to come.

Clock­wise from top left: Raghav Gupta with wife Avan­tika; Raghav Gupta (sec­ond from right) with Bo­ria Majumdar (ex­treme left), Harsh Neo­tia (sec­ond from left), Michael Clarke (third from left) and Sourav Gan­guly (fourth from left) at the launch of Michael Clarke's book 'Michael Clarke: My Story'; Mandira from Fa­natic Sports with Michael Clarke and Harb­ha­jan Singh

Bot­tom right: Raghav Gupta (fore­ground) with Sourav Gan­guly and Bo­ria Majumdar (at the rear), at the Cham­pi­ons League Fi­nal

Bot­tom left: Michael Clarke (cen­tre) at the Fa­natic Sports Mu­seum with Brad Hogg (ex­treme left), Deep Das­gupta (sec­ond from left), Jhu­lan Goswami (fourth from left) and Bo­ria Majumdar (ex­treme right)

Right: Brand am­bas­sadors of Fa­natic Sports (l-r) Pul­lela Gopic­hand, Ab­hi­nav Bindra

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.