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All For the Love of the Game Sports

Moose Bendago: The unconventional path to becoming a digital creator

When walking down Gould Street and navigating the Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) campus, there’s a chance you may come across Mustafa (Moose) Bendago attempting to interview students
passing by. 

Bendago—a former TMU student himself—has taken campus by storm with his social media presence. He went viral for asking random questions to students such as “finish the Vine” or “finish the lyric.”

His grand vision is to host his own sit-down interview show, either on YouTube or a streaming platform. 

“I didn’t know that I was going to pursue content creation for my career,” Bendago said. “Watching people conduct street interviews is what brought me into the sports media industry.”

portrait of Moose with a friend on campus

His brand, ‘Moose Media,’ has gone viral on social media, accumulating over 313,000 combined followers on TikTok and Instagram. Although Bendago gained popularity on Big Brother Canada, he established his recognizability on his own through personal social media platforms.

The concept of the videos posted on these accounts is street interviews that have been filmed locally in Toronto and internationally in the U.S. 

But his shtick isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. He has seen pushback at times when conducting street interviews on TMU’s campus. Several students have walked away or pushed the microphone out of their faces when Bendago engages with them.

“They don’t owe me anything,” he said. “I’m just running up to them with a microphone.”

Bendago graduated from TMU’s sport media program in 2019. It was there he excelled at on-air presentations and developed marketing skills.

Ryan Sura, who was a sport media student at TMU a year below Bendago, always reciprocated the positive energy that Bendago radiated during their school days. 

The two quickly became friends as they had similar vibes and, according to Sura, Bendago always had a charismatic personality. “He cares so much about the people around him,” he said.

The two regularly appeared on the then-Ryerson Rams broadcasts from the Mattamy Athletic Centre together, hosting the analysis desk for basketball. 

“Moose always wanted to be a host,” Sura said. “Doing the half-time and pre-game shows was exciting and personified his personality.”

In the year before he graduated, Bendago and a team of three other students were named the Toronto FC Challenge Innovation winners. His team was tasked with producing a marketing campaign for Toronto FC to increase fan retention for a $1,000 prize. The group pitched the campaign to 150 students and executives from Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. 

Their project was called Divercity, which involved Toronto FC hosting a game for every international player on the team. It also included having a heritage day about each player’s nation at the game.

Portrait of Moose

It’s some of these skills and accolades faculty staff look back on when remembering the TMU alum.

“His unique value proposition is that he has an interesting personality and incredible passion,” sport media assistant professor Dan Berlin, who was Bendago’s instructor during his time at TMU, said. “He was just so versatile and so adaptive at presenting effectively.”

Bendago understands the importance of marketing himself as a digital content creator.

Portrait of Moose

He was working with the Toronto Raptors as a fan engagement member in 2020 at 23 years old. However, when the world shut down as a result of the pandemic, it cancelled his plans for a summer trip to Europe. But, it also provided Bendago the opportunity to start building ‘Moose Media,’ which helped land him a job at one of the country’s biggest sports broadcasters as a content creator.

“I started the Moose Media page as a portfolio builder…to find a real job that would pay me, and it got me a job at TSN,” he said. 

Portrait of Moose

Before Bendago went viral as a content creator, he added reality television to his résumé when he competed on Big Brother Canada’s tenth season for three months in 2022. 

The show follows the premise of the American version, where contestants live in a specially constructed house that is isolated from the outside world. The houseguests compete for a $100,000 prize by being the last one to be evicted following a series of rounds.

Bendago’s reality soon changed when he partook in the show and had to endure hours of downtime in his bedroom as the weeks passed.

“I was sitting in bed some days…and up all night thinking of scenarios,” Bendago said. “It was like a little house party and then after a while, it becomes a game.”

Bendago said it was a mixed experience for most participants because of the age discrepancy between housemates along with pressure to succeed from the beginning. However, he admitted he wasn’t fully engaged
from the first day.

He described the show’s environment as “emotional” and “hyper.” A challenge for him was the surging emotional stress of the game and trying to survive in the house as long as possible.

“I tried to play an honest game, and it didn’t work out that way.”

Kevin Jacobs, the eventual winner of the season, remains close to Bendago nearly two years after the show. 

Jacobs enjoys seeing the career path that Bendago has taken.  

“When we went into the Big Brother [Canada]  house together, I could see that he was wearing this colourful jacket,” he said. “I knew we were going to hit it off as friends and be buds after this.”

After finishing the show, Bendago had difficulty adjusting back to the real world as COVID-19 protocols eased up. He found it odd to shake hands with others and have normal conversations. 

“It was a rough transition for a couple of months,” Bendago said. 

Not long after, he decided to fully commit to growing ‘Moose Media’ even further—eventually leading to his progress as a digital creator.  

Portrait of Moose

The new age of content creation offers a nonlinear pathway to success. Benadgo’s willingness to enlist the help of others is a reason he’s found opportunities as a digital creator and host. He took the skills he learned from his passion for sports and turned them into his own unique brand. 

“If you don’t ask for anything, you will never get far in life.”

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