Hay Offline, a venture purely dedicated to grant access to world class sporting facilities to public

By SESHADRI SRINIVASAN

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HAY SPORTS ARENA

In the words of our Hon. Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modiji, emergence of a New India is inevitable due to the demographics of the country with over 60% of population below 35 years of age. However, one of the aspects that keeps getting ignored time and again over last 7 decades after Independence, is the need for a Healthy India. With more and more exodus to urban areas, our cities are getting heavily over-crowded and spaces for public sporting are shrinking rapidly. Not many schools and institutions can boast of having sufficient and dedicated free space for students who want to excel in various games. Despite games like Cricket, Hockey, Football, Kabbadi, Badminton, Tennis and of late Wrestling, getting promoted through sponsored league tournaments at national level, there are hardly any facilities available even within a 50 km radius of cities where common man and his children, friends and family can spend time playing sports.

It is therefore not surprising that a country of a billion population like India fares so poorly in games and sports at international level except few individuals who toil hard and raise above adversities to pursue their dreams. Once in every 4 years at the end of each Olympics we return a sorry state of medals tally and have to be content with the achievements of a handful of such individuals who managed to wade through all difficulties and reach the top. Recently on a TV show, one could get to watch the Sports Minister of Government of India distributing footballs to all MPs without realizing that there are not many facilities available for commoners to play.

With most parents wanting to adapt a safe route of wanting their sons and daughters to pursue medicine, engineering, computer science, law, etc there is even a sense of aversion towards those who wish to spend more time on playgrounds even if they exist within reach. For international competitiveness to develop in all games, India must focus on creating the right kind of high quality sporting facilities that can be accessible to all. It goes without saying that anything taught at young ages and practiced through hard work and perseverance, stays forever. But children in India are not getting exposure to good facilities at young ages. And without a touch and feel of such facilities, children will not even know what kind of environment they have to compete in when they grow up. So, availability of right facilities and interest to take up sporting go hand in hand and thrive at the existence of each other.

It therefore becomes imperative that availability of world class facilities accessible to common man will be a pre-requisite for a nation wanting to stay healthy. Due to lack of facilities, our children who can be tomorrow’s champions at international level and are second to none in terms of capabilities, end up spending their time on computers and mobile phones for long periods of time which could become source of several health related problems like obesity, malnutrition, backache, poor eye-sight, etc.

At the same time, income levels of young nuclear families are growing and affordability is increasing significantly, especially in cities. We also hear of many parents in cities complaining that they have no place to take their children to play games of their choice and interest. While this is the scene in the age group up to 12, things are no better even in higher age groups from 13 to 20 which is the primetime for playing sports and emerging as top talent.

With pressures of writing competitive exams overshadowing their extracurricular interests and with very few open spaces available to try their skills, they give up their drive to excel in non-acdemic areas and least of all sporting, while becoming “also-rans” in academic performance as well.

At the age groups of 21 to 30, jobs take priority over the personal interests of individuals and most companies who are busy pushing their employees to meet and exceed targets & recast business plans do not do enough for creating adequate facilities to their employees to pursue their interests in sporting.

Hay Sports endeavors to correct these anomalies by creating integrated world-class facilities that can be made accessible to common public at affordable usage fees though located on the outskirts of cities. Across US and UK, there are dozens of such sporting parks that offer high class facilities to general public at pay- per-use revenue model without insisting on annual membership fees. These are not state-sponsored parks but privately owned, operated and maintained. 

In its first such venture, Hay proposes to set up an arena comprising of international class playing fields (not stadiums) for Cricket, Hockey, Football, Basketball, Tennis, Badminton, Volleyball, Swimming, Gymnasium, Jogger’s park and other indoor sports like Table Tennis, Billiards, Squash, Aerobics & Yoga, Skating, etc on a 30-acre plot at a driving distance reachable in 2 hours from Bangalore. It is also proposed to set up facilities like conference halls and restaurants with camping for overnight stay of groups up to 50 persons. Sports Merchandise can also be made available at concessional prices at the venues

With Bangalore also playing host to a number of technology companies with a large section of them being youth under 35, this sports arena can also be used for their team building events, sporting events & tournaments of non-professional clubs, ex-pat individuals and others while largely remaining open to general public through “advance bookings” and “first come first served” basis all through the year and on hourly or daily charges and weekly / monthly / yearly memberships. The arena can also be offered for other public events and performances to obtain additional revenue.

The success of the venture will however be largely dependent on the location and cost of real estate. At the same time, risk of failure is also very low due to the fact that a significant part of the assets will be in the form of land, buildings and facilities that can be of high utilitarian value

It has been estimated that an initial investment of about 300 MINR (USD 4 to 4.5 Mio) will be needed to set up the facilities depending on the location and price at which land can be acquired.

However, the method of funding will determine the overall return on investment as interests will kill the viability of the project.

Based on experience gained in this venture, in the near future, it is proposed to replicate such facilities in each city and multiple locations across India with newer and additional features and increase visibility through websites, endorsements by famous sporting personalities, digital marketing and advertisements enabling access and bookings through internet.

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SESHADRI SRINIVASAN
 
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Seshadri Srinivasan

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