Q&A with RFL systems manager Richard Donlon

By Published On: October 26, 2021Categories: In Focus

We recently announced an exciting partnership renewal with the RFL, the governing body of rugby league in England.

As part of the announcement, we chatted with RFL systems manager Richard Donlon.

Learn more about the renewal, its benefits and the RFL’s vision moving forward.

Last month, this content was exclusively released to members of the GameDay Community. To sign up, click here.

Why are the RFL and GameDay working together?

The RFL and GameDay have been working together since 2016 as the RFL were undergoing a massive period of transition in terms of digitising their registration processes.

Before this, player and coaching registrations in the RFL would be entirely paper-based, whereby players and coaches would be given plastic cards. As you can imagine, the process and logistics were not efficient enough.

The biggest challenge was the cultural shift away from this traditional system to a digital system. It would take time for staff, suppliers and players and coaches to fully integrate with the changes, therefore we realised that it would need to be done in stages rather than all at once.

Partnering with GameDay was integral for our digitisation efforts. On top of providing the system for digitising registrations, they simplified the process of making three systems into one, helping with functionality and data transfer, but also by training people and shifting the culture of RFL towards digitisation.

What are some of the changes you’ve noticed as a result of digitising?

Fundamentally, the efficiency of the RFL and the processes we have has been massively increased.

As a result of this, it led to the creation of things like up-to-date live scores on the system and individual player stats – services which, on the surface might not seem like much, but has ultimately led to better customer engagement.

As rugby league is such a community driven sport, we want fans to always be interacting and engaging with the RFL, regardless of what it is, so to have these additions that make fans want to register to Our League is fantastic.

Our community has grown to 200,000 as a direct result of the greater efficiency that digitisation has allowed us to have.

How has the pandemic affected the RFL, and what things have you learnt during this period?

Like every other sporting institution, rugby league has been affected by the pandemic.

It’s very difficult to plan and prepare for this sort of situation, especially given its magnitude and scale. While games in the Super League, Championship and League 1 were cancelled for a period of time, we can’t forget about the community game and the grassroots which were hit hard.

One area in which we have managed to learn and evolve is by streaming, so community games, which otherwise might not get any air time, can be streamed via the RFL.

That’s something that we’ve learned as a result of the pandemic which is extremely positive for the foundations of rugby league as a community.

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