“Fanatic Sports’ success in procuring rights multiple times from major rights holders plays a big role in customer acquisition”: Raghav Gupta, Fanatic Sports founder and MD

April 1, 2022

Raghav Gupta - Founder and Managing Director, Fanatic Sports (Image by Sportskeeda)
Raghav Gupta – Founder and Managing Director, Fanatic Sports (Image by Sportskeeda)

Few sports fans would pass up a chance to visit and experience their favorite sports venue or tournament, whether that be the FIFA World CupWimbledonFormula 1, etc.

While there will likely always be those who plan and make such tours individually or in their own groups, at the same time, there has been an increasing amount of demand and awareness around premium experiences centered around popular sporting events crafted specifically for customers by sports tourism operators.

With 2022 being the year of travel and multiple large-scale popular sporting events, Sportskeeda caught up with Raghav Gupta, Founder and Managing Director of Fanatic Sports to understand the driving forces behind the rise of the sports tourism sector.

Speaking on the eve of Fanatic Sports being announced as the joint exclusive agent of Match Hospitality in India for the sale of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Official Hospitality Programme and the launch of the Qatar 2022 official hospitality programme in India, Raghav Gupra described the process of partnering with a major international sporting event for such partnerships, saying:

“All large rights holders such as UEFA, ICC, FIFA, etc. mostly have a standard request for proposal (RFP) process, which is essentially like a tender where you have to bid for the rights. While the scale is smaller for RFPs such as ours, it is similar to the RFP process seen in broadcasting, where the broadcaster has to go through a similar process to acquire media rights for particular sports events.”

While Covid-19 certainly hampered the growth of this sector with sports events being canceled or postponed, the sports tourism space has nevertheless been growing over the years. This might naturally make one curious about the overall scope of growth, how large a sector it can be, and what the total addressable market for an operator like Fanatic Sports might be.

Commenting on the same, Raghav said:

“We have just scratched the surface of the Indian sports travel market. We were fortunate in that Fanatic entered the business early and at the right time after seeing an opportunity with the changing demographics and attitudes in India. There is a huge transition in progress, in that India has the largest youth population in the world, a section which is also highly aspirational and knowledgeable. Secondly, the Indian diaspora is gradually shifting from a saving economy to one that is open to spending for experiences.”

Noting how Fanatic Sports was able to see this sweet spot, Raghav went on to talk specifically about Fanatic Sports’ growth rate in the exponentially growing market, mentioning:

“While Covid-19 and the last 18-20 months definitely affected us, we were growing at 25-30% a year. Presently, we are growing at 20-25% and plan to grow at 30% a year going forward.”