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They started India's first print magazine on football!

Last updated on: June 8, 2012 17:12 IST

They started India's first print magazine on football!

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Here's how 90 Minutes, India's only football magazine, started by Atishay Agarwal and Venkatesh Sharma, became a reality.

Football is the world's most beautiful and popular sport. Although it isn't yet as much a religion in India as cricket is, football in the last decade, has grown to fascinate youngsters, and may well become the most popular sport in the country in a few years. There is something inherently compulsive about the sport, so much so that even Pepsi has called on the nation to 'change the game.'

That being said, compared to the current favourite -- cricket, football fans don't seem to have a lot of fodder to feed on, in terms of print media.

Atishay Agarwal and Venkatesh Sharma, football fanatics themselves, therefore, felt it was high time that this void was filled and thus happened -- 90 Minutes!

The startup journey

Atishay, a mechanical engineer, got into football journalism and was so fascinated by it that he chose to pursue it as a career after engineering and along with Venkatesh, also a mechanical engineer and an avid football enthusiast, to fulfil his dreams, launched India's first high quality, dedicated football monthly.

"It took us almost a year to go through the various registrations and governmental procedures, and we launched in July, 2011, with AIFF Vice President Subrata Dutta in attendance," recalls Atishay.

Both these young guns worked night and day for their respective organisations but realised that their true happiness lays in building something on their own. "Also, because of our passion for football, we realised we'd be much happier, and as a result more successful if we did something that we loved, as well as something that needed to be done." adds Atishay.

Their journey has been extremely tiring, but rewarding as well. "The response overall has been fantastic. We're getting new subscribers almost every day, which is a huge positive," says Atishay. "Our registered office is in Kolkata, and that is where we publish from. We, however, distribute in six big cities as well as the Northeastern states, where the magazine is extremely popular."

Courtesy: www.Yourstory.in


Image: May 2012 issue of 90 Minutes; Inset: The two co-founders of the magazine
Photographs: 90 Minutes and YourStory

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What they are all about

While there are quite a few e-magazines out there, the USP of 90 minutes is that it is the only print magazine on football in India.

"Football fans in India have been frustrated over the years by various sports magazines allocating only a few pages on football every week/month, and we're here to satisfy their needs. Also, being an Indian magazine, we are better placed to understand exactly what kind of articles and what kind of angles work with the Indian audience. So while we do have some 'masala' we balance it with quality football articles," adds Venkatesh.

The core members are based out of Mumbai and Delhi while the columnists are spread around India and abroad.

"We're very democratic in the way we work as well; with readers contributing articles every now and then (one or two of them are now columnists). If you have a look at our social media pages, you'll come to realise how readers also treat the magazine as their own. The football community is closely knit in India, and this magazine belongs to the whole community," informs Atishay.


Image: A giant "Tango 12" soccer ball, which was unveiled on Friday as the official ball for Euro 2012, is displayed in front of the Palace of Culture in Warsaw December 2, 2011. The "Tango 12" is based on a classic design used at the World Cup and European championships of the 1980s. It features a modern interpretation of the hugely popular Tango design of the past with the colours of the flags of the two co-hosts incorporated into its design: red and white for Poland and yellow and blue for Ukraine. Picture taken December 2, 2011.
Photographs: Kacper PempelReuters

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Their claims to fame

One of their major milestones has been them successfully getting exclusive interviews of international football stars!

In the last few months, they've tied up with the then EPL club Blackburn Rovers to produce an exclusive booklet for them that comes packed with 90 Minutes for free. Last month they also nailed down a content-sharing arrangement with Arsenal, thanks to which they included some content from the official Arsenal magazine in their May issue.

All set for the future!

Atishay and Venkatesh have built their careers on their passion for the game of football. And much like the game, their dreams have become beautiful as well. Going by the quality of their content and the enthusiasm they have for their magazine, we are sure they will go places in the years to come. Watch out for them!


Image: Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott of Arsenal wave ahead of the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Wigan Athletic at Emirates Stadium on April 16, 2012 in London, England.
Photographs: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

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