We are aiming at 10 mn visits a day by the year-end: Porush Jain, Sportskeeda
Founded in 2009, Sportskeeda is among the top sports news sites in India, serving 125 million+ annual and 35 million+ monthly users, with a major focus being on Cricket, ESports, Wrestling (USA), and Football. Sportskeeda’s content is contributed by a global community of writers, publishing 200+ articles and videos every day.
Over the last decade, sports has really caught up and engagement with sports online has really been intense. With audiences now exposed to more international sports, the engagement will only grow further. With a strong vision to build a highly engaging sporting community, Sportskeeda is taking every step to move in that direction. The commencement of IPL 2020 after a lot of uncertainty during COVID-19 times has brought a lot of respite to the audiences and brands. This festive season, brands are expected to leverage sports channels in a major way and here Sportskeeda is also offering interesting customised properties for brands to engage.
In an exclusive chat with Adgully, Porush Jain, Founder & CEO, Sportskeeda, speaks about their plans for IPL, along with how they plan to build and grow Sportskeeda and their long-term strategy for sports in India and across the globe.
After long debates and deliberations the IPL has finally commenced, but this time in a different destination and with restrictions. Will it have the same excitement and how has been the user response for this period? Is it as expected? How do you plan to engage the users?
For us Indians, cricket has always been like a religion and IPL has been a celebration of this religion. With the majority of sporting events either being suspended or postponed because of the pandemic, I believe the revival of IPL has undoubtedly brought a smile to our faces and given all of us a reason to cheer about. For me personally, this IPL will be the biggest of all!
The response from our cricket fans has been nothing short of overwhelming. While we expected around 2.5 million unique users on the opening day of the event, we were pleasantly surprised on getting twice the traffic that we were expecting, that is, 5 million unique users. Our concurrent users before the IPL used to be 20-25k, during the match it surged to 165k. Just to mention, we were expecting around 12-15 million ad impressions a day, that too jumped to almost 42 million impressions. So yes, pretty happy with the love that we have received from our users till now.
Apart from exclusive content pieces, interviews, videos, etc., we have observed that there are a lot of players playing fantasy cricket. To engage with this audience, we provide fantasy tips/teams on our cricket preview section just after the toss! Still early days, but we are optimistic about this and will share the engagement results soon.
One of the disadvantages this time with IPL is that there is not much ground activation and experiential marketing that will happen. This is a great opportunity for online sports channels to engage with their audience and help brand engagement in an intensified manner. Are there any plans or strategies to leverage the same?
Yes, with the restrictions that have appeared since the advent of the Pandemic, we have certainly seen a rise in digital consumption of the game. This, as you have rightly drawn attention to, is an opportunity for us to engage with our users more actively, which further opens up significant opportunities for brands to engage with their potential customers on a platform like ours.
Keeping this in mind, this year we have added an array of customisable innovative ad properties to our arsenal, which will help brands to amplify their marketing communication through more impactful engagement with our users. We also have a dedicated customer success team that works on providing the best advertising solutions to the brands.
The online sports news space is very competitive and crowded. How are you bringing that difference to woo sports enthusiasts and keep increasing the download of your app for engagement?
Sportskeeda, as I’ve mentioned in my previous interactions, is a place for hardcore sports enthusiasts! The content that we generate is curated by some of the biggest sports journalists and ardent sports fans. So, I think what makes us a little unique is that we are able to strike that chord with the fans more frequently. Currently, we are focusing on a couple of things other than the App. However, in the near future, we aim to bring our users more comprehensive sports content and enhanced user experience through an improved avatar of our App/s.
Content is the king. How are you maintaining momentum to introduce new and fresh content continuously across all sports to retain your audience and increase your users?
Well, I strongly believe in the statement, “Content is the king and will always be”. We have a well-rounded team that is not just editorially strong, but are themselves sports connoisseurs. They have clear insights into what exactly our users expect in terms of content. Sportskeeda has been the leading all-sports website of India for quite a long time now, it’s easy for us to attract the best content creators. Actually, half the sports journalists/ writers in India have at some time written at Sportskeeda.
You are covering a wide range of sports for Sportskeeda. But in the last one-year fantasy games and Esports has gained popularity. What are your views on this? Will this be new territory in the sporting arena, would we see more traction, and will the window for monetisation open up in a big way?
Esports is growing by leaps and bounds. We ourselves have witnessed an upsurge of almost 6000 per cent in visits over the past 4-5 months. And this is just a starting point; we are aiming at 10 million visits a day by the year-end. Similarly, for fantasy games, the market is growing at a rapid pace. Currently, we cover fantasy majorly in cricket, but I believe there’s huge potential for other sports as well. Fantasy is spreading rapidly and is converting the cricket fan into a prized audience, as the 100 odd fantasy platforms in India are looking to attract this audience.
Finally, how has your journey been so far? What was the thing that inspired you to start this entrepreneurial venture? What are the future plans of Sportskeeda? Are looking into bringing in some innovation or new features to your current offerings as global sports are only gaining popularity across all countries?
It has been an incredible journey. When I look back to the days when Sportskeeda was born and what little I have been able to contribute to the Sports community, I feel proud. But there’s a long way to go from here and new milestones to conquer!
My father has been my inspiration for this small but exciting entrepreneurial journey. I have always looked up to him and he never fails to inspire me.
In the near future, fans can expect us to cater to more international sports. The vision is to build a highly engaging sports community on Sportskeeda. Hence, all our efforts will be in that direction.