Coronavirus has led to the acceleration of the inevitable: sports coverage increasingly moving to digital and in-turn becoming global. The world of sport has transcended borders, justified by the increased worldwide viewership of various sports. What has created this drive is the extensive coverage and the ‘documentary culture’ that has elevated the sports’ presence off the field. One of the beneficiaries of the ‘new normal’ in the Sports industry is EssentiallySports, which has 8M+ users a month across all their platforms.
Founded in 2014, EssentiallySports apparently began as a platform for passionate college sports enthusiasts to voice their opinion, an effect of the budding global sports culture in India. It is currently owned by Full Spectrum Services LLP. As seen on the EssentiallySports’ website, they began with the coverage of a few sports and now cover 10 sports: NBA, Tennis, UFC, NASCAR, Boxing, Formula 1, Esports, WWE, NFL and Golf.
The modus operandi of the media house seems to lie in the coverage of sporting action, round the clock. EssentiallySports’ focus is evidently on the creation of news and opinion pieces across individuals, teams and events. The website covers various sports with an in-house team of writers, editors and content curators, as can be seen through their policy pages.
When broached about their tagline: The Fan’s Perspective, EssentiallySports delved into their work culture, “A usual live-event day is marked with pre-game coverage, where the entire team brainstorms prospective topics. On the gameday, the team banters and writes simultaneously; and the post-game coverage involves opinion and features that the audience would love to engage with.” says Harit, one of the co-founders. He continues, “Our team has ardent followers of the sport who also have an interest in analyzing and writing about the same. All these activities would correspond to the behavior of an enthusiastic fan, thus the tagline, The Fan’s Perspective.”
According to the Alexa.com Analysis of the website, EssentiallySports is ranked 8,588 in the US and they have been able to reach an audience from the English-speaking majority nations across all platforms: the US, UK and Australia in specific. It is evident that their major portion of the growth came in early 2020, as they rode the wave of changing user behavior due to COVID and the resultant increase in digital engagement. As fans and sports-entertainment moved to digital platforms, EssentiallySports as a digital-first organization was conveniently positioned to benefit from this trend. Being a digital-based business, they also create exclusive Interview content from various individuals of the Sporting World.
Harit went on to state that, “As a digital-first Media organization, we look to engage fans through our website, social media presence and our apps. The focus remains on augmenting technology with our astute sports knowledge, to deliver a captivating user experience across platforms.”
As the world settles into the post-COVID world, and people get back to their usual life post-vaccination, it remains to be seen if EssentiallySports can maintain its growth trajectory. Regardless of how 2021 goes, the website has demonstrated that: digital-first global sports coverage is here to stay. Operating any business, purely on the online frontier can sometimes be tricky. As much as there lies an excellent opportunity to transcend boundaries and engage diverse communities, on the other side lies an ever-changing digital hemisphere. However, EssentiallySports seem to be quite confident in their approach and time will tell how they persist with that outlook, in 2021.