Trends & Features

New technology will help sports clubs & governing bodies engage effectively with grassroots members

New technology will help sports clubs and governing bodies attract and engage effectively with grassroots members

With grassroots sport set to return at the end of this month, sports clubs and their governing bodies are being urged to make better use of technology as a way of engaging, attracting and retaining members who may have stepped away during lockdown.

In the Budget, the Chancellor announced a £25 million package for UK grassroots sports, with local sports clubs also having access to a £150 million Community Ownership Fund, which the government says, “will help community groups buy or take over local community assets at risk of being lost.”

This follows a report by Sport England which suggests activity levels among young people dropped by 2.3% in the summer of 2020 compared to the previous year, with 2.3 million children in England failing to complete an average 30 minutes of activity a day.

To assist governing bodies of sport and their clubs in engaging their membership bases, Sheffield-based Sport:80, which develops cloud-based sport management software for governing bodies to manage their operations and deliver online services to members, has launched a new innovative club management system to reach grassroots activity.

The solution includes a number of features that will support clubs as they navigate a safe return to play. Grassroots organisations will be able to use it to create a website, engage with members via a mobile app, deliver online membership registration, create and deliver personalised training programmes, facilitate online class bookings, and manage venues including member check-in. The solution also includes push notifications that clubs can send to all of their members enabling them to quickly communicate important information on any changes in Government guidance. The venue check-in feature will allow clubs to track attendance across their facilities including a check-in history, which will also make it easy to track down contacts should a Covid outbreak occur.

The new technology will also assist national governing bodies in becoming compliant with OpenActive, the Government-backed initiative that supports the sector in using open data to help more people become more active. It will give governing bodies and their club networks access to technology that is easy to use, and which produces bookable opportunity data (competitions, sessions, classes, courts etc.) that is shared directly to OpenActive’s multiple platforms, tools, services and initiatives.

“We know that keeping members engaged improves retention rates, enhances efficiency and increases member satisfaction,” explains Sport:80 CEO, Gary Hargraves.

“The new system has been designed to unite these common interests of sport and help organisations recruit at a grassroots level by attracting new members with new digital offerings. And at no point has that been needed more.”

Sport:80’s club management system has already been adopted in the United States by USA Weightlifting on a long-term licensing agreement. The governing body worked alongside the UK-based technology company over the past 12 months to bring the solution to market. USA Weightlifting have an established partnership with Sport:80 and utilise the company’s flagship product, the ‘Sport:80 Platform’. This proprietary Software as a Service (SaaS) solution enables sports organisations to unlock the power and value of their communities. It is a sophisticated yet easy-to-use sport management system that combines powerful CRM functionality with a dedicated online member portal. By providing both of these functions within a single system, the Sport:80 Platform actively encourages online engagement from members whilst providing various operational tools to enable sporting organisations to improve business efficiency and insight.

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