Sportsmen investing in startups is no news. Especially Indian cricketers have had a tendency to open up restaurants but sports personalities and celebrities in general haven't shied away from backing startups. Sports365.in is the eCommerce portal of Live Sports 365 E-Retail in which Mahesh Bhupati has a minority stake. We covered their story earlier where in Vishal Gupta, the co-founder revealed about their business.
In a recent development, Yuvraj Singh has showed interest in the venture wherein he agreed to be a part of a promotional campaign. More is expected of this relationship but that is as much as we can disclose at this juncture.
Sports365 deals with all kinds of sporting equipment with usual benefits like free shipping and COD option for payment. Also foraying into event management on a small scale, Sports365 has been increasing its presence in that direction.
There has been some gloom over the Indian eCommerce story lately but the sports segment seems promising. Not plagued by intense competition, the fact that offline and online activities can be seamlessly blended is a big plus for the segment. The Indian Sports Goods industry is huge and pegging a number is difficult but there are claims of putting it at $2 billion for the metros and top cities in India.
Snapdeal acquired eSportsBuy earlier in the year and eventually merged it with Snapdeal. eSportsBuy now exists as the Sports and Hobbies section on Snapdeal. Jabong also has it's own sports segment. Another sports eCommerce portal is SportsNest which was cofounded by Sanjay Rao and has generated good traction. "Our activites are still more offline, events play a huge role. 70% of our business comes online while 30% is online but going forward, we expect this to stabilize at 60% online and 40% offline," informs Sanjay. SportsNest has stores in Karnataka and a single store in Chennai but plans to go pan India soon.
For consumables like cricket balls or golf sticks, customers are not finicky about the look and feel but apparels and bats are something that the customers want to have a feel off before buying according to experiences of some of the portals. For SportsNest, most of the online sales happen in Mumbai, Channai and Nasik.
The sporting goods industry also faces faces the usual challenges of logistics and supply chain but this is a rather interesting space; we're keeping an eye open here. There are other portals like Decathlon, Playgroundonline, Playmore, etc as well, what is your preferred destination?