Sport entrepreneurs Ravi Bhusari and Didier Brun spoke at the "Sport and Community" panel discussion at Shelter on May 25th. For more on insights from the event, click here.
When Ravi Bhusari arrived in Dubai, he “quickly realized that there was a need for recreational sport leagues.” An avid amateur basketball player from Canada, Mr. Bhusari took matters into his own hands. Partnering with Derv Rao, a fellow Canadian expatriate, Mr. Bhusari launched Duplays, a web portal for organizing community recreational sporting activities, in 2007. Their first game was a dodgeball match between friends. Today, Duplays boasts a community of over 35,000 active players competing in more than 15 sports.
Duplays works with schools and community organizations to reserve courts, fields and officials for sporting events. In recent years, their work has extended to include partnerships with international organizations and the local government.
In the same way that Duplays has responded to the needs of athletes living in the UAE, Sport360 has responded to the needs of sports fans.
The sport daily – the only single-section sport daily newspaper in the world – was launched in response to a “lack of quality sports writing” in local papers, said Mr. Brun.
“[Other] papers were not set up for sports,” Mr. Brun said. “Their offices closed at 8pm. They would report on yesterday’s scored of the day before. We stay open and give you the latest scores.”
“We very quickly realized that there was a lack of coverage, and a lot of interest, in local sports,” Mr. Brun said. “People wanted to read about what was happening at the community level, at the school level, and nobody else was covering it.”
Duplays and Sport360 are just two examples of entrepreneurs making waves in sport. Sporting goods stores and fitness centers and sports leagues have been popping up as well.
“There is a momentum in sports,” Mr. Brun said. “We see more people doing sports than 4 or 5 years ago. Every year, sporting events are attracting more and more people. There is real potential for sport entrepreneurs.”
The question is: how will the next sport entrepreneurs shape the market?
- Mary Ames
Educational Programs Manager//Shelter Dubai
Image available under CC license by Mohammad Talha Ghouri