SportsPass is a grassroots member benefits program developed for sporting associations and clubs. Working on both sides of the spectrum, club members get the benefit of rewards and discounts to retailers and vendors who in turn become a source of funding back to the clubs.
We went one-on-one with the company’s founder Chris Coleman.
Describe the business and how it impacts the sporting ecosystem?
Chris Coleman: “About four years ago I wanted to address something that’s quite swept under the carpet here in Australia which was the cost of participation in sport.
“So we created a rewards program that when you become a member of a sporting association, whether it’s grassroots or professional sport, there’s some way to offset the cost of that membership. We all know how much benefit there is in community sports.
“Four years later, we’ve reached over a million people, just this year we’re starting to launch with the more professional side of the sport which has had its own challenges due to sponsorship rights conflicts.
“What we found as we’re moving forward as a company is that we are not just offsetting the cost of sport for parents and participants, we’ve actually become this valuable touch point from a membership organisation to its community outside of the season. If you think about it, let’s use an NRL team as an example, once the NRL season is over apart from some news you’re not really engaged with the sport. Now being a part of the SportsPass community you’re integrating with your local hotel or your community suppliers which creates a sub-sponsorship level while providing constant value and rewards to the member.”
How does your company evolve to work with clubs and businesses?
CC: “We were recently majority acquired by Rewardle (ASX: RXH). Rewardle has been around for about four-years, and they work with small businesses, specialty, loyalty, retention and advertising. They’ve got over 3,500,000 users and so it’s logical sense for us to partner and help support local grassroots sports further.”
Outside of Australia, has there been any growth or traction in this space?
CC: “That’s an interesting one! Outside of market I’ve genuinely had my first copycat.
“I’ve literally got a company from the UK called SportsPass, it’s a year-and-a-half old and it goes to show registering a trademark in your country is very important and if you have the capital, which we didn’t at the start, go global.”
Oh! What do you do if you want to enter the UK market?
CC: “It’s more than a legal fight over who owns the trademark. One of the best pieces of advice that I have received is that a copycat is similar to someone copying in a test – they might have the right answer, but without understanding how you got there they will never truly understand the product and customer.”
Let’s talk milestones, where is the next big one you wish to achieve?
CC: “I’d like to do a trial with every professional sporting association that we haven’t already worked with to demonstrate the value of SportsPass. We’ve got a plug and play software system for any community sport to be able to bring tangible product together to actually get the community to invest back into its own community.”