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The entrepreneurs aiming to educate and entertain with 'smart' sports stories

Sportageous challenging rumour and meme based sports media. Source: Sportageous Facebook

Pakistani-Australian entrepreneurs have launched a website aiming to provide engaging, human-interest sports stories.

Zushan Hashmi along with friends Hassaan Shahid, Furqan Ur Rehman and Hassan Ajmal came up with an idea last year to launch an online platform, which they said would provide in-depth and engaging sports content.


Highlights:

  • Sports media website challenging clickbait and meme-based reporting 
  • Focus on stories from people of diverse backgrounds and women in sports
  • Exponential growth of Sportageous during COVID-19 lockdowns

Sportageous Co-Founder and director Zushan feels that there is a void of critical and engaging sports content in the media. 

“Looking at the meme-based culture and fake news in media we decided that there needs to be a platform which provides long-form, critical, in-depth content about athletes and professional sports players,” Zushan told SBS Urdu.  

“We do not produce clickbait content rather our focus is more on stories of athletes with a human interest angle.

“We talk to athletes on how they overcame adversity after an injury, we talk to sports academics, tech engineers and one of our main focus is on telling stories of people in sports from diverse backgrounds. 

“Another key focus is women in sports and bringing their stories to the limelight,” he further added. 

Sportageous team with Australian cricketers
Sportageous team with Australian Cricketers Usman Khawaja (L) and David Warner (R).
Supplied

Idea to execution

Sport gets smarter is the slogan behind this start-up and evolved from three friends who took it upon themselves to provide 'meaningful' content by blogging.

“All three of us have strong opinions, perspectives about sports and knew that we wanted to write in this space,” said Zushan.

“So we started blogging last year in August and in just two months we launched a podcast, started interviewing athletes and it grew exponentially during the lockdown.

“Since January we have been publishing articles on a daily basis, conducting zoom interviews and providing a substantial amount of quality sports content.” he further added.

Sportageous co founder zushan hashmi with pakistani cricketer
Zushan Hashmi (L) with Pakistani Cricketer, Iftikhar Ahmed (R) in 2019.
Supplied

Growth during COVID-19 

The website was averaging about 500 visitors in January and is now getting more than 10,000 per month.

The company’s combined social media following has grown from none to 8,000 in a span of nine months. 

Zushan believes that COVID-19 lockdowns gave them “a lot of time to develop sportageous.”

“We probably would not have been able to interview professional footballers, rock climbers, squash players, cricketers, tennis players if the pandemic did not happen because they probably had more time to talk to media.

“In addition to this there were no sports tournaments being held and people were craving for interesting sports content which also helped us in developing our audience.” Said Mr Zushan.

Future Plans

Furqan ur Rehman Director of operations and Co-Founder told SBS Urdu that they had received a lot of feedback from audiences wanting more video content.

“We are planning to produce a lot more video content and are launching our videocast series this week while keeping the focus on producing more quality content,” said Furqan.

Sportageous videocast Z
Videocast with former Pakistan and Bangladesh National Team Cricket Coach and current West Indies Team Cricket Coach Richard Pbyus (L) and Zushan Hashmi (R).
Supplied

The medium-term goal for the sports media start-up is to source funding and expand on their existing partnerships. 

The online platform currently has two partnerships, one with a sports broadcasting company in Pakistan and second with a sports technology-focused media company based in Perth, Australia.

Mr Zushan told SBS Urdu that they have just signed a third partnership with a football referee data analytics app.

“The app focuses on referee data in the English premier league and we are excited to work with them. 

“Our long term goal to be SPORTbible but smart. This means the content we create goes viral but also educates and entertains people who are from a non-sporting background.”

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