In a sports ecosystem, there are a plethora of organisations that are thriving in India, providing a wide array of services. You can rent a court to play a match of badminton or basketball, you can rent a ground to play football as well. However, have you ever thought of playing a sport while you are visiting an exotic place for leisure? How about a group of working professionals or Social organization members form a Cricket Team or a group of above 40 or 50 years badminton friends joining together to travel to an exotic location and playing their passionate sport with the local elite community? Having Networking dinners and Party with the fellow players? Starting the leisure day with yoga and meditation on a cliff at a mountain resort and going for wild safari? Enjoying the leisure day in the house-boat in the scenic backwaters?
Well, if you are looking for all of this, then Sports Exotica has the answer for you. A first-of-its-kind proponent in India, Sports Exotica is India’s first sports holiday experiences company, which provides an opportunity for an amazing blend of experiencing Sports and enjoying exotic holidays.
Starting their journey in 2017, by Sanju Samuel, Raju Mathew and Rtn. Jyotish Prakash, Sports Exotica has targeted a niche business segment that is rejuvenating the sporting culture among many.
Speaking to The Bridge, in an exclusive conversation, Raju Mathew, Director of Operations said, “On a corporate structure, in a frame of organizational perspective, it is the first time in Indian a private sector, it’s is been built as a niche sports tourism organization and we are also India’s first Startup India recognised sports holiday startup. Members of sports clubs in Australia or UK, travel to their different countries to visit the other clubs, which they know personally. This has been happening for the past few decades on a personal network basis. People in their 30s or 40s, who used to pursue a sport at their young age, also might feel the urge to play sport, and this where we help them to connect.”
For Mr. Samuel, who is the director of hospitality, sports have immense contribution in building up a good network. He adds, “In India, you will find a lot of people passionate about sports. Maintaining our health and building a network in sports is the best kind of icebreaker. Sports brings you in the same level platform and you meet the likeminded people and you feel stressfree and out there enjoying the game. This is when we put all our research together and we realized that there is a huge market. We were the first one to bring this segment particularly in India.”
Sports Exotica brings sports holiday packages, where vacationers get to experience their favourite sport like cricket, badminton, football, golf, among others along with enjoying post-match network dinners, fireside chat with experts, beautiful nature, wildlife, mountain resorts, backwater cruise, trekking, yoga and meditation at exotic destinations. It’s an opportunity for Sports Travellers, their family and friends to explore and experience match days along with mesmerizing holidays.
The company was registered in 2017. The three founders from Kerala, who were working in different companies gathered to form this organisation. With their cumulative experience from backgrounds like hospitality, sports logistics, marketing and customer services, they facilitated the service of sports tourism. There are two distinct segments of the organisation. One is the inner luxury holiday experiences and the other is premium sporting events, okay, wherein they organize high-end tournaments.
The Kerala College Premier League T20 Championship (KCPLT20) is the main example of the success of organizing a cricket tournament in a different level altogether.
KCPLT20 Championship was started in 2019 partnering with Kerala Cricket Association as a Talent Hunt program to identify cricketing talents from college campuses in Kerala state. After first edition in 2019, KCPLT20 was known as the largest professional cricket league in Kerala with the participation of more than 700 players and 48 Teams from 14 districts. Kerala Cricket Association was impressed with the professionalism and operational excellence of Sport-Exotica Team in organizing such a wonderful Talent Hunt program. Red Bull Campus Cricket, commonly known as World Cup Cricket of Colleges selected Sports-Exotica’s 2020 edition of Kerala College Premier League T20 as Kerala Edition of Red Bull Campus Cricket 2020. Also, 2020 KCPLT20 has emerged as largest profession cricket league in South India with the participation of more than 1100 players and 72 colleges from 14 districts. Formation of similar leagues in other sports is in the discussion with concerned authorities and potential sponsors.
On the other hand, their Sports and Tourism packages are not limited to any particular geography therefore, they customize bespoke experiential sports holidays at various exotic destinations like India, Sri Lanka, UAE, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, UK and Europe. Sports-Exotica has partnered with Kerala Tourism for the experiential sports tourism and they are also in discussion with various tourism promotion authorities for joint programs. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, they are also ensuring the properly sanitized atmosphere on the ground, accommodation facilities.
The organisation launched the first of its kind Leisure League Cricket, where world famous cricket Coach Dav Whatmore said, he was attracted by the concept of teams, group of people or individuals subscribe to the sports leisure package for enjoying the game and holidays at beautiful grounds and exotic destinations. It is going to be an amazing experience.
“So, that means people will be engaging with their passion for cricket and also they can even with some other activities like evening parties are networking with fellow people who are already into that particular event that locals and foreigners. Then they also be going for other leisure trips like hiking, water biking, etc,” says Mr. Jyotish.
Leisure leaves are slowly getting popular among Indians, and corporates are choosing these sort of sports holidays for their employees to have some good time by winding off amidst nature.
Though the pandemic has brought a setback to the ecosystem the organisation has strategised their own set of plans and they technically had zero per cent layoff in their company.
“While the foreign tours have been postponed so far, the tours in India are functioning smoothly as we have tournaments running indoors, and we are also facilitating the best of hospitality with clean, hygienic luxury hotel rooms so that there is any complaint,” asserts Mr. Raju.
Sports Exotica has started a new revolution in the sporting ecosystem where they are hosting the perfect marriage of travel and sports and also through their premium league structure they wish to cultivate the grassroots of Indian sports hunting talent from over the length and breadth of the country.
You can reach out to them via email at [email protected]