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From indolence to agile: A strapping concept of e-sports

In the quest of opening a new frontier to back digitalization of sports, especially during the pandemic, Sports Uno is working towards changing the market dynamics and aiding stakeholders to enhance growth prospects. Varun Rao, a sports enthusiast and young tech geek who has given way to the inception of SportsUno has fixated his ideas on selling quality sports products, facilitating people with a subscribed appeal for personalized training of sports and gym fitness.

What now seems a million-dollar idea has many sides to it. In a crisp chat with High on Persona Varun elaborated the need to seize the best out of the current situation by giving in to digitalization and coping with timely innovations since what we see today is not a preordained scenario, so tough times require even tougher minds. With insights of the former cricketer, R.P. Singh as a key player, a wide range of objectives from the combination of authenticity and alternation will give way to a robust platform for people from all walks of life and those with varied requirements.

For many years, while other sports developed countries have been leveraging technology at the grass-root level to improve sports at the ground level, India has been operating on conventional modes. However, with the onset of technology in the day-to-day life of sports stakeholders in India, such as using technology for online shopping, grocery purchases, booking movie tickets, etc., has created greater awareness amongst these stakeholders as to how technology can aid them in improving their business and train athletes better. This has motivated the grass-roots of Sports in India to shift towards technology. This awareness and willingness to use technology, has seen a paradigm shift from seeing sports technology as only e-sports to seeing it as a tool to better train athletes and grow your sports business.

Q1. Sports is exclusively related to outdoor or indoor physical exertion how will a virtual platform such as SportsUno grab its clients?

SportsUno is a Sports Technology Company that works with Sports & Fitness Businesses, such as Sports facilities, Sports Academies, Fitness Centers, etc. to digitize their day-to-day operations by deploying SaaS on the ground. This SaaS (Sports / Fitness Management Software) not only helps the sports/fitness business go digital and conduct all its tasks through the online medium but also helps the business provide a better ‘end-customer’ experience thereby helping the sports stakeholder grow his / her business

Q2. Digitalization of sports automatically sinks in with ideas of virtual games such as Wii or Play station how are you planning on eradicating such stereotypes?

For many years, while other sports developed countries have been leveraging technology at the grass-root level to improve sports at the ground level, India has been operating on conventional modes. However, with the onset of technology in the day-to-day life of sports stakeholders in India, such as using technology for online shopping, grocery purchases, booking movie tickets, etc., has created greater awareness amongst these stakeholders as to how technology can aid them in improving their business and train athletes better. This has motivated the grass-roots of Sports in India to shift towards technology. This awareness and willingness to use technology, has seen a paradigm shift from seeing sports technology as only e-sports to seeing it as a tool to better train athletes and grow your sports business.

Q3. With Ultimate events like the Tokyo Olympics now getting postponed, there’s without a say a steady downfall in the purchase of sports equipment so as an entrepreneur do you think the major setback is turning to be profitable for digital platforms such as yours?

With the Covid19 pandemic and industry-wide lockdown in place, it’s all about innovating and coming up with new offerings to provide sports businesses (such as academics, sports facilities, fitness centers, etc.) so that they could again reinitiate their work and start earning a living. Companies that can adapt to this change will not only sustain during these tough times but will also be able to establish their market presence.

Q4. Online training will be able to sail the boat if there’s no or less scope of the practical application of these learnings?

We see online Sports or Online Fitness sessions, going forward are going to become the new normal for the sports & fitness industry. This form of training is here to stay. While the Online classes will help resume training exercises during the lockdown period, even once things get back to normal, training will be a combination of both online and offline sessions. For example, it could be in an 80:20 ratio, whereby the 80% being offline classes that deep-dives into the physical guidance and training aspect, while the remaining 20% will be online fitness sessions or home assignments for students. This new medium of online training will also provide sports & fitness businesses to expand their market reach and earn higher revenues.

Q5. With former cricketer R.P. Singh on board as an investor, What is the roadmap to growing the Tech Company based on his knowledge of the on-ground needs of sports?

India is a developing sports technology market. There is immense scope for deploying technology in this space and improving the way things are done. Thousands of sports academies and facilities spread across sports, in both the private and public sectors, are waiting for the right technological handholding and guidance. RP Singh with international experience as well as through experience from his sports academy brings to the table a whole new spectrum of experience

Q6. Please elaborate on the marketing and communication blueprint to get sports enthusiasts on board?

If a sports academy, sports facility, or fitness center wants to improve their day-to-day efficiency, increase revenues by over 30% and reduce their operating costs, then adapting to the right set of technology is imperative. SportsUno helps you achieve these and acts as your Technology Partner to help you evolve with time, in terms of technology, so that you are always ahead of your competition. We want to get personalities of different sports on board so that they can understand the technological needs of their respective sports.

Q7. Digitization of sports through SaaS and B2C will mend the severe impacts on the sports industry in a way unseen?

Absolutely yes. We can just imagine how digitally advanced the sports ecosystem will become once the majority of the grass-root level academies and sports facilities start using SaaS for managing their businesses. To get a sense-check, you can compare how the cab-booking industry functioned before the onset of multiple cab-aggregators digitized this space. It’s a complete transformation which is very much required in the sports industry today, for providing athletes better playing and training avenues.

Q8. The selected sports for the prime focus as a Kickstarter are Cricket, Football, Tennis, Badminton and table tennis, and basketball what were the driving factors in the selection criteria of these sports considering 3 out of 6 are close contact games?

When we launched, we focused on these 6 prime sports given how the Indian market progressed and had their preferences towards sports. However, post the pandemic lockdown, almost all sports got affected. Now are times, that may it be close contact sports or individual sports, we have to come up with solutions that can ensure all sports are played in full-swing as they were before the pandemic.

Q9. Do you have separate plans for post-pandemic and ongoing pandemic market strategies considering a shift to mental well being and self-love mindset of people during quarantine? and how do you plan on getting the attention back to your industry?

The attention of the Sports Industry has not faded away. This is a temporary road bump, which I am positive, all sports & fitness businesses will overcome. We will face some financial losses due to this pandemic, however, by taking the right measures at the right time, the sports & fitness industry will bounce back strong. The same is the story with us, as a Sports Company, we have to evolve and adapt to the changing times. We are standing hand-in-hand with all our sports academies and facility partners, and are working relentlessly to help them bounce back.

Q10. With one click away fitness app backed by celebrities promoting them how will SportsUno respond to the cut-throat competition? do you plan on roping in celebrities to promote SportsUno

SportsUno is not competing with popular Fitness App companies, which are heavily funded and backed by celebrities. We are working towards technologically empowering sports & fitness brands/businesses. Our strength is in Sports Technology and we are using our expertise to provide the best tech to our sports & fitness partners so that they can compete with these Fitness App companies operating within the fitness market.

Q11. It has been tough keeping a steady pace with ongoing crisis, What kept you going with pursuing the digitalization of the sports industry through your idea?

SportsUno is a vision, a vision to digitize the sports & fitness industry. This Pandemic has given the sports & fitness stakeholders ample time to think about ways to improve their business and how they could incorporate technology to function more efficiently. We have seen an exponential surge in our number of inquiries and sales. There has been an immensely positive response from the market for technological tools like that of ours, and we are positive that things are changing in the Indian sports market

Q12. How far stretched is the idea of collaboration with gyms, and gym instructors considering they need to coach virtually?

Physical training can never be completely replaced by Online / virtual training sessions. Therefore, instructors and trainers have to smart enough to device online curriculums that can be learned with remotely and safely by their customers.

Q13. With Markets crashing due to demand and supply imbalance caused by lack of liquidity, how will you as an entrepreneur safeguard your company?

We at SportsUno realize that the market is quite unstable at the moment, and every decision that we take will have long-term effects on our company’s growth. As entrepreneurs, we have to have the foresight and anticipate oncoming situations. For instance, when the Covid19 situation hit the China market, we started closely monitoring the situation, and soon we understood that this healthcare situation will impact India as well. So starting March 2020, we commenced work on our Online Sports Video Classes platform, as we knew that the market is going to see a bearish effect very soon. Because we were quick to respond and evolve, we stayed afloat. We have to adopt a similar approach in the future as well, and keep our eyes & ears open for opportunities and threats in the market and adapt to the changing needs, to ensure a bright future for our company.

 

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Vijay is an entropic traveller who keeps himself abreast with the developments in every nook and cranny of the world. He is a treasure trove of information about unexplored destinations and happenings in various parts of the world. He is connoisseur of fashion and trends and keeps a tab on practically all the leading designers and fashion houses of the world. Styling for fashion shoots and magazines remains his forte. He has vast experience in fashion shoots and events and exceptional grasp over the language and has written extensively on fashion, travel and style trends etc. He makes an immensely valuable contribution to HOP.
Email: vijay1862@gmail.com

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