As Australia inches its way to community and grassroots sport getting underway (and we say this very cautiously given that flare ups of COVID-19 cases occurring again), we talked to another technology player who have some of the tools to help clubs and organisations who are ready to play.
In this conversation we talked to Stack Sports Director of Sales and Marketing, Cameron O’Riordan.
Reflecting on 2020, the operations of Stack Sports changed through the year. We can easily split the year in two parts in January to March and now march to the end of June. Can you reflect on 2020?
Cameron O’Riordan: “Like most businesses from January to March, we were preparing to support our customers through our solutions and technology offerings. Then it of course changed and we altered our thinking.
“During the latter part of March through to June we’ve been supporting our clients and really understanding how their members can return the sport. It’s interesting hearing their thoughts, a CEO from a sporting organisation that we spoke to was bullish about using this time to work ‘on’ their business rather than ‘in’ their business. They used it as an opportunity to set themselves up for success for the rest of the year, and the future as well.”
“We produced a weekly webinar series, we once again partnered with VicSport to jointly do our event ‘Directions of Sport in the Digital Age.’ This is a second year we’ve run the event, first time virtually. Then finally we launched something that we’ve talked about for quite a while but we’re able to get off the ground was our podcast series, just to speak to key people in the industry, our key partners and tell good stories about who our customers are and what they’re doing in the community.”
What are some key insights that came out of that VicSport event? What’s a key insight or a key learning, even from your perspective, that came out of it. Given this event ran mid pandemic, there are different fears and worries, so what’s the key insight or key takeaway?
CO: “One of the most popular sessions was around fundraising, raising funds for your sporting organisation. We got some key industry leaders weigh in such as the Australian Sports Foundation, to the sports community, and it was just to provide sporting clubs, organisations at all levels fresh ideas on something that is such a major concern to the industry.”
It’s one of the aspects you might you would have noticed is that obtaining sponsorship may be difficult for a lot of sporting organisations, especially at the community, grassroots and state level. Is this something that you’re probably hearing whispers about, sponsorship income is going to be a challenge?
CO: “Sponsorship in general is going to change, how sporting organisations fundraise will change. From our point-of-view, we’re seeing different and innovative fundraising methods through our Game Day auction platform, which is our fundraising platform, used by many clubs and organisations.
“Toronto Wolfpack, who are a professional rugby league club, are raising funds by auctioning off player sponsorships via the platform. They’re auctioning off behind the scenes ‘money can’t buy experiences.’ They’re a really good example of diversifying the way they look at sponsorship and the way that they look at raising funds for their various community foundations.”
So with the ‘Return to Sport,’ how is Stack Sports helping organisations, plan for and return to sport?
CO: “I think we’ll see behaviours change at the grassroots club level right across the sporting community from little things like taking cash payments, we’ll see cash eliminated. So one of the big things that we help organisations do is digitise the registration and membership experience and remove the need for physical cash payments to pay off registration fees.
“The other big one is event management and competition management solutions where people register to attend an event or register to play in a particular competition. When someone takes part in a certain match, we produce simplified reporting tools for sports clubs and organisations to report on all the members who may have been in the same venue at a certain time. Sporting organisations need to be able to report on that information and to simplify that information to the stakeholders, government, even Sport Australia. We’re making it easier rather than create more work for the volunteers that are out there.”
Stack Sports has partnerships with Rosterfy, TidyHQ, ECAL, so describe how important these tech partnerships and integrations are to the business?
CO: “We’re not everything to everyone, we have a core product suite that we focus on and that works really well for our customers. Some of our customers are looking for other things and that’s why our partnership with Rosterfy is a really important one. They excel in volunteer management and we capture volunteer registration information through our system. So for us, it makes sense for the two solutions to talk to each other so that when a sports club has to manage everyone that’s attending training or game day, through our system, they can export that information and use Rosterfy to manage the attendance of training and matches.
“The partnerships that we have through a wide range of organisations here in Australia from Rosterfy to TidyHQ, ECAL and etrainu are important because they all have their own unique offering. The aim is that they complement each other to help our customers and make it easier for their day-to-day administration.”
I’m curious by this, how quickly do these partnerships come together, how quickly are you able to integrate and deploy a solution jointly with any organisation?
CO: “It does vary and it does depend on the complex nature of the partnership. From a tech point of view, it depends on what we’ve actually already got going on in our existing roadmap.
“The Rosterfy partnership, it’s a simple export of data. In other integrations, they’re a little bit more complex. We’ve now got an integration with ECAL so that every grassroots community fixture on our platform can be downloaded to the calendar of the device you’re actually using. That one was a little bit longer because there was a lot of complexity around making sure it works in the relevant time zones. We don’t just work here in Australia and New Zealand, we work across Asia, Europe and the UK markets. Things like getting time zones correct when a user is downloading to your calendar is a really important part of what ECAL does. We needed to make sure that all married up from our end and then there’s other workflows like our integration with etrainu and that just comes down to how the sport wants to display a qualification or accreditation for certain a member or organisation.”
What are the goals for growth through the rest of 2020? Take me through the company might evolve through the rest of the year and onwards.
CO: “First of all, it’s obviously creating extra features, modules and plugins for Game Day. We’ve got a number of clients that have utilise that platform. That’ll certainly be a focus for the rest of 2020, as well as helping our customers find their feet and return to sport and return to play.
“We’re obviously owned by part of the Stack Sports family based in the US which has a huge reach across its customer base and we’ll leverage their existing products and solutions and, where appropriate, try and bring them into the Australian market. Some of our clients already use some of their products such as Game Plan is one example, which is used by NRL, AFL and Super Rugby teams here in Australia.
“It’s about exposing a wide product suite to our customers and keep adding value to everyone, that’s our aim.”