Bayside Sports gives children a head start, and also puts the ball in parents’ court

16th Aug 2017
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Mumbai-based bootstrapped startup that offers sports training and organises tournaments is hoping to hit Rs 4 crore in top line revenues soon.

What’s your favourite childhood memory? Kicking a ball around? Hitting the hugest six your friends had ever seen? Or perhaps dunking the ball five times in a row? Chances are your parents feel the same way and so will your children.

Childhood and sports seem to have an inborn connection, and the thrust on fitness has led to a spurt of sporting clubs for children in almost every city.

But Bayside Sports is a club with a difference: it wants to train and draw parents to sporting activities along with their children.

The beginning of Bayside Sports

Bayside Sports started off as a cricket training academy in January 2013. The co-founders, Kyan Bharucha, 40, and Vishal Gokani, 40, are childhood friends who have played cricket together on maidans across Mumbai for over 25 years.

Their initial focus was to ensure that children at their academy received the best training. The coaches at Bayside paid attention to the physical aspects of the game along with mental conditioning of each student, thereby sowing the seeds to grow a well-rounded modern cricketer.

Kyan and Vishal felt most coaching academies in Mumbai were biased towards a set of players. 

“Every academy had a few ‘favourite’ students, and the rest were all the add-ons sitting on the sides watching the star pupils train. We knew this wasn't right,” Kyan says. 

Bayside Sports started by coaching three students and today has around 100 unique cricket teams registered with them. The startup claims to have trained over 2,500 students since inception.

Over time, they added football and basketball to the training programme.

Warming up to parents

But Kyan believes that the real eureka moment for Bayside Sports came was when he overheard a father telling his son about what a good a player he once was.

“His words were ‘I used to be a star batsman when I used to play. You should have seen me those days’,” Kyan recalls.

It struck him that he needed to think this through and create events for older people to participate in and showcase their sporting abilities.

“We realised that unless they are members of some clubs in Mumbai, people above the age of 30 years barely have access to sports and even less so to organised sporting events,” Kyan says.

Today, Bayside Sports has children and parent teams from various schools across Mumbai, including Aditya Birla World Academy, Dhirubhai Ambani International School and Bombay Scottish School.

The Bayside Sports Team

The Bayside business model

When children from new schools join, parents can also enroll for training and tournaments at Bayside Sports.

The Bayside Sports School Dads Cricket Championships was devised to let fathers of children from one school play against fathers of children from other schools. All events are played under flood lights for an authentic feel. Starting with four teams in 2013, the participation has grown exponentially to 24 teams in 2016.

This year, Bayside Sports expects over 40 teams to participate when the tournament resumes in November 2017. 

Then there’s the Bayside Sports School Mums Throwball Championship, which has over 30 team registrations. Coming soon are the School Grand Dads Carrom Championships and the School Grand Mums Quizathon. By the end of this month, an Inter School Grandpa's Legacy Carrom Championship and Inter School Grandma's Sports Quizathon will be organised.

The startup also runs affiliated tournaments like the Buddies Bash and Summer Slam where friends can participate in same teams even if they are from other schools.

Customers can also avail retail services or book grounds via Bayside Sports. The revenue is generated from academy and tournament fees. Bayside Sports retails sports goods (their own brand of bats and balls) and help teams/individuals rent grounds, practice facilities or nets for various sporting needs.

Family day out with Bayside Sports

How they aced the challenges

Most of the challenges that Bayside Sports faced were at the pre-launch stage of the company, the co-founders share.

Kyan had a difficult time deciding whether to venture completely into Bayside Sports or continue with his senior role at Cadbury/Kraft Foods (now Mondelez India). He encountered many naysayers who wanted him to stay secure in his corporate role.

However, Kyan decided to take the plunge, a decision that he feels was for the best. Vishal soon joined him, downing the shutters on his insurance business to make a mark in the sports industry.

The duo was later joined by Paras Zaveri (in 2015) and Ashish Redij (in 2016) to handle their finance and media- related activities respectively. Today, Bayside Sports has a team of 15 employees.

The founders believe what sets them apart is their ability to be the one provider with direct access to school parents, principals, PTAs and of course the children they train at the academy. This has also helped them bring sponsors on board for various tournaments.

In the last fiscal year, Bayside Sports’ top line revenues touched Rs 1.6 crore, growing 100 percent from the previous fiscal year. By the end of the current fiscal, they hope to hit Rs 4 crore in top line revenues.

Currently bootstrapped, Bayside Sports is looking outwards for finance to scale operations.

Bayside Sports School Mums Throwball Championships underway

Game on for the future

Over the next few months, Bayside Sports will be taking the dads and mums tournaments to other metros and tier-2 towns. The team is also building a loyalty platform and a subscription model.

“We are establishing new partnerships with like-minded sporting brands that complement our business and with sponsors who see us as a great connect with the UNHI and HNI crowd. We also plan to enhance our retail footprint,” Kyan reveals.

The sports sponsorship market in India is poised to be $4 billion by 2019. There are multiple players like Sportslantic Training Academy, Sports for All, The Sports Gurukul, DY Patil Sports Academy and Spotou, which manage and encourage sports training in India.

But Bayside Sports sets itself apart with its unique model – involving parents along with their children. It has clearly levelled the playing field!

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