In this edition of Don’t Look Back, we go back to speak to Patrick Galloway from Sportsyear.
We lift off from our conversation with the co-founder of the sports scheduling and marketing company from October 2019.
A large percentage of your company’s revenue is tied up in hospitality, so clearly COVID-19 has impacted Sportsyear. You’re not charging your customers and clients at this time which makes perfect sense, but it speaks to the values of the company, can you elaborate on that.
Patrick Galloway: “With the entire hospitality industry shutting down there was no other option for us but to suspend billing to partners. It didn’t have anything to do with the financial position our business was in, it was just a logical decision for us based on our values.
“Right from the beginning with Sportsyear we’ve always valued accuracy, service and we think incredibly highly of loyalty.”
How are you using the shutdown period to innovate?
PG: “This downtime has allowed us to really focus in on some of the key marketing challenges of many of our hospitality partners and refine our ability to create custom, on brand, automated marketing solutions for them.
“We’re optimistic about a return date for pubs and clubs here in Australia in the coming months and we want to be able hit the ground running.
“The downtime has also allowed us to pause and re-evaluate the overall business strategy and have a think about how people will consume live sport after the pandemic and think about how we might be able to help them in a range of other ways using our data.”
Let’s get into the improvement of a product. How are you investing into the product during this period?
PG: “We’re working on building a range of automated digital marketing tools which help marketing teams spend as little time as possible on the nitty gritty aspects of promoting a live sport offer on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
“For example the last time we spoke we talked about our digital signage prototype which has been rolled out in a few sports bars including the Star Casino in Sydney. We’re building out that product now to do an even better job at keeping fans in venues longer.”
As we come out of the shutdown period, hospitality and how the public uses/connects with spaces such as pubs, clubs and casinos may well change, is this something you have factored in?
PG: “Absolutely. There are a couple of ways to look that. First of all, if Sportsyear is ensuring a marketing manager in hospitality spends as little time as possible promoting their venue’s live sport schedule, then they will then be able to spend more time making sure their venue is set up for, and able to abide by the strict social distancing measures we expect to be put in place.
“Secondly, keep in mind that live sport is going to be a key way for the industry to start to re-engage with patrons and re-introduce them to their venue after the shutdown. Fans are going to be desperate for an experience when the shutdowns ease given the fact that sport has been offline for months and all stadiums might remain closed to fans. That means venues are going to become the new sports stadium in a socially distant kind of way. It’s an exciting opportunity and we will be more ready than ever to help with that.”
How do you maintain your vision for the business in a time of massive upheaval?
PG: “The one thing that has never let us down through the whole course of the journey, even when we did printed sports diaries, has been going back to our purpose, or values and the brand. We did a lot of work on the Sportsyear brand when we were a print-based company, we spent a lot of time thinking about our purpose. We want fans to witness great sporting moments.
“I would recommend to anyone in the midst of this pandemic trying to do a deep dive on their brand and ask what it is they stand for. That will help guide them.
“Of course every business is different, and every business has different financial constraints and pressures, but if you can understand what your purpose is as a business and what you value the most I think that’s a really strong place to come from.”