Some say you never quite know a city until you’ve gone to a game with the locals. Aussie entrepreneur Matt Scully has had the pleasure of travelling around the world, but ticking off ‘must see’ tourist destinations began losing its appeal after a while. He was craving more authentic travel experiences – he wanted to network with the locals, understand their customs, and experience their sporting culture.
It was during a trip to New York City that he realised how difficult it was to get good information on sports events and this proved to be a major deterrent for attending games.
Scully says, “On this trip we attended games, asked directions, bought merchandise,visited sports bars and even pretended to understand the intricacies of the NFL […] We loved all of these experiences greatly, however finding all of this information was extremely difficult.”
“There seemed to be varying sources of the truth, which often left us confused. It occurred to us that a centralised source of reliable information for major sporting events would be very valuable to not only sports lovers, but those looking for truly unique traveling experiences.”
It was from this frustration that Scully and his team came up with the concept behind SportsWhereIAm – an ‘all in one’ site that aims to make life easier for travel and sports enthusiasts.
Soft launched in November last year, the site functions like a search engine, in that users simply enter the date and location of their choice, and sporting events happening at that date and location will appear in the results.
Once the user selects a sporting event, they’ll be able to find all of the complimentary information related to it – including news, tickets, sports bars, merchandise, broadcast schedules and more.
Scully says they’ve been able to build the site without raising external funds, though the option is on their radar.
“We have managed to juggle the building phase of the website whilst we were still working our ‘9 to 5’ jobs. Whilst this has proven to be difficult at times, it has helped us avoid funding issues early on. Now that the site is launched we require a lot more focus to help generate awareness of our page, so raising money will need to be considered in the future,” says Scully.
It’s a well-known fact that the tourism market is a large and ever-growing market, with revenue generated from tourism recently surpassing USD$1 trillion. This is forecasted to grow by 4 precent annually up until 2022.
Although Sports Tourism is estimated to account for a small portion of the tourist market, sports consumption on the internet continues to expand. News, live scores, twitter feeds and fantasy team results are all highly sort after information for the modern sports fan.
“Whilst we believe users of SportsWhereIAm will not be limited to sports enthusiasts only, the continued growth in this segment is a further positive sign of traveler interest in sport,” says Scully.
The SportsWhereIAm team have been generating interest primarily through social media platforms – including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – but plan on increasing their presence to incorporate broader digital mediums.
Their revenue will be generated through purchases of tickets, merchandise, and memorabilia through partner companies that they have affiliations with.
At the moment, however, they’re focusing on generating traffic so they can open up more revenue-generating streams in the future.
Given its still early days, Scully says the best is yet to come: “We are really proud that we have been able to launch the page that we hope people will find easy to use and nice on the eye.”
“Our City Pride area in particular will be a valuable resource for anyone looking for ‘insider’ information and stories of city specific sports craziness. We really hope that people get behind this concept and share their stories with the world – everyone is a local expert, and we could have really used this on our own trips.”
They were also reviewed in the LA Times, which was a proud moment for the SportsWhereIAm team.
Like other startups, there have been peaks and troughs in the journey, and the team anticipate more to come. But they’re confident they’ll be able to ride the waves as long as they stay focused on the vision.
The biggest challenge at the moment is generating awareness.
Scully says, “We feel like we have a great service, we just need people to know about it. Longer term, we would like for our page to be the ‘go to’ for sports events. People will know we provide all of the information they are looking for, all in the one easy to use site.”
The site currently focuses on the most popular sports events in the most visited destinations around the world, but this will continue to grow on a daily basis.