What got you to focus on the niche of sports tourism?
The idea of ‘DreamSetGo’ was conceptualised during a work trip to London. As a passionate Chelsea Football Club fan, I always tried to catch a game live at Stamford Bridge but often failed to get a match ticket.
Having researched a possible solution at length, I realised there was a massive gap between the supply and demand from an Indian context, the absence of official partners or exclusive ticketing agents in India, for Indians. This was the seed behind the inception of DreamSetGo. We decided to build a luxury sports travel platform to provide Indian sports fans with greater access to the world’s largest sporting events and experiences.
Speaking of sports tourism, while India had unlocked the full potential of domestic sporting events, there was still a dearth of untapped opportunities in cross-border sports tourism. With DreamSetGo’s exclusive partnerships with sports organisations/federations globally, we empower Indian sports fans to engage with global sports, way beyond cricket. Our investor, DreamCapital, a part of the DreamSports ecosystem, guides us with business insights and knowledge to enhance an integrated sports universe in India.
There are several well-established players in sports tourism in India. How do you intend to compete with them? What is your USP?
DreamSetGo thrives on creating memorable once-in-a-lifetime experiences. We aim to deliver ‘money can’t buy’ moments to Indian sports fans, beyond just the ‘viewing experience’. By layering end-to-end, luxury hospitality and sightseeing opportunities over the initial sports offering, we have an edge over other players and provide consumers with world-class experiential travel opportunities.
Additionally, we serve a diverse portfolio of sports travel experiences- right from cricket to the Olympic Games, or even as luxury hospitality partners for the Gujarat Titans games at their home ground. Some of our services include reliable matchday ticketing, VIP box seating and hospitality experiences, stadium tours, exclusive pitchside access, prime-viewing seats, meet-and-greets with legends, private charters, and curated destination experiences, among others. Currently, we have partnerships with Chelsea FC, Manchester United, Manchester City, the Olympic Games – Paris 2024, The Rugby World Cup, Cricket World Cup 2023, IPL – Gujarat Titans, and F1, among others.
To put things in perspective, over the past year, we have organised experiences like private wine-tasting lunches at Yarra Valley to private yacht dinners with Brett Lee, and Diwali surprises with Harbhajan Singh and Mike Hussey, among others. Our ability to innovate based on consumer sentiment gives us an edge over others.
In 2022, we facilitated 15–20 pc of the 20,000 Indian cricket fans that visited Australia for the T20 World Cup. And over the past 12 months, over 5000 sports fans have travelled with DreamSetGo to watch various sporting events, such as the T20 Cricket World Cup, F1, Rugby, EPL, and Wimbledon, among others.
How big is this market in India and how is it growing?
The sports tourism market in India is growing rapidly, with significant potential for growth in the coming years. According to a report by the Ministry of Tourism, the sports tourism market in India was valued at INR 240 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14 pc between 2018 and 2023.
Post-pandemic, the comeback of fans to stadiums across the world for major sporting events like the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, F1, Wimbledon, and FIFA World Cup has given a much-needed boost to the sport tourism industry. We are confident that in the coming months, many more Indians will be travelling to watch their favourite teams at stadiums across the world. This growth is attributed to several factors, including the increasing popularity of sports in India, the rise of disposable income, and the growth of the middle-class population. Overall, the sports tourism market in India is a growing sub-segment of the tourism industry and presents significant tailwind opportunities for experiential tourism, and corporate and MICE travel.
Having witnessed a noticeable increase in demand for MICE and Sports travel experiences during the months of March and April 2023, corporates continue to look towards sports to provide incentives and build loyalty, a trend that has been mirrored consistently since the start of the year, showcasing month-on-month growth in interest from corporates. Our recent offering with the Paris Olympics 2024, has also witnessed enquiries as corporates look to secure the best experiences at the best prices ahead of time.
Where are the key source markets for sports tourism in India?
As we focus on MICE + Sports experiences, the majority of our consumers reside in metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Hyderabad, among others.
What is the travellers’ profile? FITs, groups or corporate?
We have been able to identify four target audience categories with the help of our over 50-person strong team spread across sales, travel, experiences, partnerships, and marketing. The three categories can be bifurcated into corporates, CXOs, high net worth individuals (HNIs), and individual travellers or FITs.
Through our MICE vertical, we focus on corporate or incentive travel to reward employees and external stakeholders. We also curate luxury corporate experiences centred around sports for CXOs, and business leaders who are looking for unique offerings.
A key area of focus in moving away from traditional MICE to an approach of ‘MISE’ denotes Meetings, Incentives, Sports and Experiences, we target the top 10-15 percentile of traveller profiles. Sports fans are passionate about watching live games of their favourite clubs, and teams. We also cater to the discerning requirements of today’s evolved urban sports fans in India.