March 4th 2021 saw the coming together of South Australian Planners, Sport Administrators and Program specialists through the partnership between ActiveXchange, the Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing (ORSR) and 15 state sports who have already connected in to the SportsEye Network.
This meeting was an important moment in time, falling on the back of the recognition of launching the SportsEye Sport account in late 2019, just 3 months prior to COVID closures across Australia and, as could be imagined, the subsequent scrambling of Sporting Organisations to simply keep up with the immediate, rapidly changing landscape to support staff, volunteers and members to navigate such uncertain times.
It was a timely reminder as to the power of data and the significant value a connected network creates in terms of planning and infrastructure, advocacy and lobbying, growth and understanding community health and wellbeing impact.
To help showcase the opportunity at the fingertips of the 15 Sports and ORSR, James Harris, Executive Officer of Softball South Australia (SA) shared his reflections of his personal journey pre, during and post COVID, harnessing the power of SportsEye.
A time that seems so distant – Pre-COVID
When I was approached by the ORSR to be part of the pilot program, I had not heard of either ActiveXchange or SportsEye and was a little reluctant because I didn’t think I had the time or resources to give to it. After a short ‘crash course’, I was hooked, and although I only had the ‘highlights’ of what the program could do, it was relevant data and considered it all to be important – if not vital to our sport moving forward”
Initially, Harris saw opportunity in the program to:
After a few conversations and the support of ORSR, a pilot program was in development stages, and Softball SA had a target area that SportsEye showed no softball competitions but a high predicted demand for the sport – a demand higher than some of our top performing associations.
With this information, Softball Australia mapped out a consultation plan as the first stage right as COVID hit this time last year. It has left the sport with a precise understanding as to where next, particularly at a time when resources are beginning to build back up again but priorities need to be extremely focussed.
A time we remember all too well - during COVID closures and restrictions
Although the program was on temporarily on hold through COVID, Harris still found uses for SportsEye.
1. National Partnership
“Conversations with Softball Australia’s National Body were positive and there is interest in what can be achieved in South Australia’s pilot program and potential interest in a National SportsEye account.”
2. Quick and reliable support through SportsEye
Logging in for the first time in a couple of months, Harris had to remind himself how to navigate the program but as it all started coming back, the chat-bot popped up….
“I gave a simple request and got a response to say that I will receive an email from the SportsEye Team. Well, within a few minutes, David from ActiveXchange had contacted me and provided the data I was after. Simple, quick and easy.” An example of SportsEye putting a Data Team in the back pocket of every partner sport, ensuring sports don’t miss opportunities and fall behind, a key option as internal resources are even more stretched at the moment.
3. Grant Funding Letters of Support
Across the sector, facility funding is in huge demand and Harris was able to utilise SportsEye data to include in letters of support to three different LGA’s for recent funding applications for facility grants. These LGAs were targeted because of the upfront insight within Softball’s SportsEye account – focus from the outset.
“Using actual real time data to provide content to the letter of support – proving growth potential or evidence of a successful softball program in the region was extremely well received.” SportsEye now also couples growth potential with health and wellbeing social impact KPIs, translating traditional sport registration data into ‘government language’.
This data from SportsEye along with the data Softball SA received from a recent Statewide Facility audit (in collaboration with Baseball SA), was the basis for the evidence-based support.
“I might add, it was nice to get positive feedback regarding each of the letters”.
A time we are all ready for – post-COVID
With fresh eyes, more time and confidence on the platform, Softball SA is using SportsEye to push forward and grow the sport.
1. New updates to the program
During a recent meeting with James and David from ActiveXchange, they provided a short presentation.
“The updates to SportsEye provided greater insights into the capabilities, a great deep dive into relevant information for reporting, data analysis and planning.”
2. Future of Sport pilot
“The Softball SA Future of Softball pilot is still a goal and I have a note on my whiteboard in my office that reminds me every day that this is a gamechanger for our sport and is in sight thanks to SportsEye and ActiveXchange.”
“In a nutshell, the plan is for the future of the sport – a boutique association run for participation, fun and social purposes. A non-traditional competition that if successful would be our blueprint to take on the road around the state, initially to support regional affiliates but then to also target areas that softball has a high demand according to SportsEye.”