Here’s an aspect of team sports that doesn’t get the airtime it deserves: at the end of the day, it’s all about a group of people getting together to play and have fun – even as adults.
Rezhan Majid understands this all too well. The CEO of Sports Bandits – Kuala Lumpur’s first social sports community that offers you opportunities to engage in games like basketball and dodgeball, and other recreational activities – talks about what drove him to set up the company.
“I lived overseas and used to move around a lot. My closest friends and even the people I’d meet when I got to a new place would be through sports. I’m a big basketball fan; when I moved back, I saw that a lot of the basketball culture here – like the leagues and tournaments – weren’t what I was used to.”
The gap in the market made it easier for Rezhan to narrow down Sports Bandits’ modus operandi, “We focus more on the experience of playing those games. We also bring better venues – they’re usually indoor courts and are air conditioned.”
But what truly sets Sports Bandits apart is the off court experience. “For basketball players on Statsports League, our website is sort of like an ESPN.com for each player. Even average Joes like you and I can go to see our stats after the game.”
Rezhan describes sports as medium that unites people. “A lot of sports ended up segregating and creating cliques – we’re not here to do that. We’re co-ed and less competitive. When you show up, you’ll be around strangers, but the culture and community that’s built around it is very social to get people to interact with one another.”
He points out that even if you arrive with friends, you could be divided into different teams and end up playing with other individuals. According to Rezhan, you can fall back on sports to widen your social circle, “People come to meet, network and even to make new friends. Once they start coming, they find that they have a new group of friends as well.”
The realisation Sports Bandits was making an impact came when people began turning up on their own to play. “We didn’t expect girls to show up by themselves, honestly. It’s something that I’m really proud of because it shows we have a safe community that people are comfortable with.”
So what’s next for Sports Bandits? For Rezhan, the sky’s the limit, “We want to be the regional brand for social sports and fitness.” He notes that even though they’re still in the beginning stages of this plan, they’re currently looking at adding more sports to their portfolio and expanding to other Malaysian cities. “We want each Sports Bandits member to have the same experience no matter where they go. We’re here to change sports experience and unite people in their passion for the game.”