We Want To Be The Number One Experiential Sports Providers For The Indian Fans: Raghav Gupta
Read this Exclusive interview with Raghav Gupta, Founder, and Managing Director, Fanatic Sports
Fanatic Sports is a global leader in Sports Ticketing, Hospitality & Experiential Travel with offices in India, Singapore, Dubai, and North America. It is the official ticketing & hospitality partner for the world's premier sporting events like the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Cricket World Cups, UEFA European Championships, Wimbledon, and many more.
We recently spoke to Raghav Gupta, Founder, and Managing Director, of Fanatic Sports, here are some edited excerpts from the interview.
Two years have been really tough for the live sports industry, what was your story like?
Honestly, it was tough for us to survive it. We are a small boutique company but a leader in the business, and the only company in Asia to have the official exclusive rights for the Olympics.
There has never been an official Olympics agent in India. We are the first company ever to be appointed by The International Olympic Committee (IOC).
So Tokyo 2020 was a massive event for us as a company. In 2020, before the pandemic hit, we had three mega-events in six months and as you know, these events are backed by financial commitments. So obviously we were selling for one year, one and a half years preceding the event. there was a huge contingent, which had already signed up. Obviously, it was a very challenging time, but it made us stronger.
The fact that we have seen the worst behind us, we are back stronger. Now, we have the joint exclusive rights for the FIFA World Cup, we are also the official agents for the T 20 World Cup.
What sets Fanatic Sports apart from its competitors?
We celebrate the fan and we understand the DNA and the expectations and the whole aspiration of a fan. And we try and bridge that requirement, whether it is the best seats in the house, whether it is about team hotels, athlete engagements, panel discussions before every India game, etc.
We get the whole sport closer to the fan in multiple layers and that sets us apart.
In India, there have been travel agents who have tried to sell a large sporting event as an opportunity, which is good, but as Fanatic, we don't do non-sports, though we have multiple offers and opportunities to do so, as a policy, we believe to stick to our core.
Also, as Fanatics, we do not sell anything which is unofficial. If you see, ticketing is a very grey area. I mean, there are multiple people who sell tickets across the world for multiple sporting events, but as a company, we only sell tickets for events where we are official partners, or we have been given the rights by the right holder to sell the tickets on their behalf.
People talk of digital experiences and metaverse, will that impact physical experiences in any way?
The average time young people spend on the phone is huge, I mean, they live on the phone. So, there is a parallel world. I remember when I was, 15 or 16, I saw the movie Matrix, and it took me three times to understand exactly what it meant, but now you are in that Matrix world, So I think both will survive. I think there is a long way to go before they need physical experiences that will not go away.
If we talk about the next two years, what is your vision for Fanatic Sports?
To obviously get all the licenses for the events that are in the next two years across all sports.
We have been in this business for almost seven years. Two years went by with the pandemic, I have seen before Fanatic, there was demand, but there was no opportunity for experiential travel as we see now.
In terms of the overall experience; we have a phenomenal team. We believe in delivering more than we commit. Our vision as a company is to be the world's number one in our domain. If you're talking about two to three years, I would say to become a global platform and to service the Indian fan, whether it's cricket, whether it's football, whether it's golf, whether it's a thing.
So, we want to be the number one experiential sports provider for Indian fans across the world.
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