With the football season nearing, Mallus worldwide are excited to see our ‘manjappada’ win over the ground as well as our hearts. The game brings in an air of excitement, the exact same way our childhood fights on a rainy day in a drenched ground over a corner kick used to bring us.
For Malayalis, Sevens Football is a celebration, of friendship and brotherhood, but over time, we often failed to catch up with our dream games, which were often audience by the locals alone. Ever wondered if these sports with a tinge of local flavor could be brought to you at the click of a button? Here is a team of ardent Mallu fans of the games, groomed by the elite universities, bringing together players and their fans with their brainchild Goalstar TV.
In conversation with Harshan Pollekkad, co-founder of Goalstar TV, the few of its kind live streaming platform, bringing the sport close to your heart closer to you.
Give a brief info about Goalstar TV?
Goalstar TV is a live streaming platform that is dedicated to promoting hyperlocal sports in India. Goalstar TV has a dedicated crew that travels to the venue of each tournament and cover the matches professionally. Users can watch the live match, view instant highlights, and replays on the platform.
When and how did the idea of sports live streaming dawn on you? Are you a sports enthusiast yourself?
Me and Shannon Roshan (Co-Founder) are from Kozhikode, Kerala, and have been Sevens Football fans since a young age. We met at our university in the UK where Shanoon was doing his Masters in Sports Marketing and I was doing a Masters in Marketing. In one of our casual meetings, we realized that Sevens Football, despite having a massive fanbase, was not live-streamed nor recorded. That’s when we decided to look closer into the market and realized its huge untapped potential.
What matches or sports events do you live stream currently?
We currently stream Seven Football in Kerala. We hope to expand to more hyperlocal sports and cover more geographies within 2 years.
Where is your startup based out of and why do you think it is the best place?
Our Startup is based out of Kozhikode, Kerala. Goalstar TV launched in Kerala as Kerala is one of the states where Football Fandom is higher than that of Cricket or any other sport. This along with several other factors make Kerala the best market to rollout Goalstar TV. Kozhikode happened to be my hometown and is the ideal location for us as the fanbase for Sevens Football is concentrated around the Malabar region.
What are some of the challenges you had to face to start the venture?
Onboarding the local authorities and organizations has been the biggest challenge for us.
Sevens Football market in Kerala has never been exposed to such a business model and the local bodies are very reluctant on breaking the conventional methods to take their sport online. The other challenge was building a technical team that could execute Goalstar’s plan while adapting to the challenges faced locally which ranged from unexpected weather to last-minute changes in the matchday plans.
How do you look at the live stream industry in Kerala?
The live streaming industry in Kerala has seen a huge surge in the past 5 years. Cheaper technology and emergence of Youtube Live, Facebook Live, etc has enabled a lot of SMEs and individuals to host their own live stream. A huge portion of the streaming industry in Kerala consists of Weddings, Church Events, and Political conventions. However, sporting activities don’t get enough air time.
Considering Keralites are huge football fans how has the response been so far?
The response has been amazing so far. Goalstar TV launched a pilot on 13th December 2019 and ended on 8th February 2020. We broadcasted 61 matches (3 Tournaments) and managed to get over 60,000+ views. Within this short time, Goalstar TV also managed to get 10,000+ sign-ups from 10+ countries.
On 8th Feb we streamed the final match of a Sevens Tournament on Facebook. We didn’t spend a single penny on advertising and the post reached 1.5 Lakh users and got over 67,000 views and 2000 engagement. All this happened within a period of just 3 hours. 80% of our users are from Kerala while 20% of our users are Keralites around the world.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
Me and Shanoon (Co-founder) met in the UK while doing our Masters. Shanoon has been working with Leicester City FC at the time while I have 4 years of experience in advertising.
I have known Lubab Musthafa (Co-founder) for 8 years and Lubab has significant experience in Growth and Sales. He is also the founder of an IoT firm.
Our most experienced member, Biju Francis (Chief Programme Officer), has 26 years of experience in sports broadcasting and has worked with ORBIT ESPN, OSN, and other Networks.
Ankit Bhatia (CMO), co-founded a digital marketing firm (FrogIdeas) in Gurgaon and has significant experience with scaling businesses. I used to work in ForgIdeas before moving to the UK.
How do you see the years ahead, planned for Goalstar TV
Kerala does not have a dedicated sports channel and India has only 3 major sports network. Goalstar TV aims to be the first 24*7 sports channel in Kerala within 2 years and gradually expand to capture the South Indian market (4 languages).
Live streaming in India has always been uni-directional since the beginning of sports broadcasting. Goalstar TV aims to be the next generation of sports viewing in India by 2025. Introduction of AR into the app will be our key focus to increase audience engagement at the venue along with Gamification of the entire viewing experience. Goalstar TV will also introduce ‘AR-enabled Photobooth Kiosks’ at the venue to make the ‘stadium experience’ more exciting. Within 5 years, Goalstar TV aims to be the most viewed Sports Platform in India.
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