Featured in the Herald Sun, 17th of January 2017
By Jeff Whalley
When Glen McGoldrick left his stable job with a national accountancy firm to set up an online payment platform for grassroots sports clubs, smartphones had not yet been invented.
It was 2001 and Mr McGoldrick had a simple vision, wanting to offer the benefits of burgeoning online technology to smaller sports clubs across Australia.
In 2015, that company — IMG Sports Technology — merged with Fox Sports Pulse to create SportsTG.
It now has a major share of the market, helping sporting clubs with everything from managing competitions and events to collecting membership fees.
The group has partnerships with the AFL, NRL and a suite of their clubs, including the Brisbane Lions and Broncos and the North Queensland Cowboys. It also partners with the governing bodies in Australia for soccer, basketball, athletics, hockey, water polo and cycling.
Mr McGoldrick says that when he joined the industry, “I was running around with a Nokia 2110, so it was pre smart phone”.
“No one had a browser on their phone,” he says.
In the coming year, SportsTG will launch its “mobile first” strategy in time for the winter seasons with its Game Day application.
“At the moment, participants can go to a website, register and pay and join the club,” Mr McGoldrick says.
He says the platform, created for desktop computers, is far better for clubs than the traditional payment system where participants “pay by cash on the night” and the club has to get someone to bank it.
But the new app, allowing for easy payments by smartphone, will be far better again, Mr McGoldrick says.
Among other features, it will also allow clubs to manage teams using a messaging service and broadcast live scores across the nation.
“The motivation behind the merger was to create an entity that had sufficient critical mass to justify the amount of investment required in sport technology — traditionally it had been a cottage-based industry,” Mr McGoldrick says.
“The demands and requirements of sport meant we had to change the paradigm. We had to deliver mainstream serious technology.”
The ultimate goal of SportsTG is to become the platform by which grassroots sport is administered nationwide, he says.
Most of the group’s business comes through deals with national governing bodies.
SportsTG, which is part-owned by The Herald Sun publisher News Corp, works with 20 of the top 25 sports.
The company makes its earnings by charging a fee for processing transactions. It is important such businesses stay at the cutting edge, Mr McGoldrick says, as consumers increasingly expect a seamless online experience.
“You are no longer judged (based on how you compare with your direct competitors) in the online space — customers want a user experience like Uber, Spotify or Freelancer,” he says. “We’ve also got such a divergent end-user base. We are dealing with all demographics and geographies because grassroots sport is everywhere.”