‘Home run!' - NZ Tag Football hitting new heights thanks to GameDay
Having unleashed the power of GameDay within their nationally-run tournaments in 2022, NZ Tag Football Inc (NZTFI) are already starting to reap the rewards.
NZTFI rolled out their new technology at the International Tag Series (ITS) in Auckland in November, before enjoying further success at the recent Junior Tag Nationals.
GameDay is supporting NZTFI in a number of ways:
Streamlined team registration and payments for junior/senior teams.
Player registrations and payment via bespoke online registration forms.
Game results entered directly into the GameDay platform, with instant updates to the ladders, and progressions surfacing on the GameDay Mobile App and NZTFI results website.
The delivery of instant referee appointments with associated reporting and payment capability, thanks to the integration of GameDay's Schedula platform.
It has been a real culture shift for NZTFI, but as they explain, it is one that will support the long-term growth of the sport, both locally and nationally.
Embracing new technologies
By their own admission, NZTFI first bought GameDay’s licence and were only utilising a small portion of its capabilities.
From the outset, there was one main challenge: helping NZTFI personnel understand and embrace the shift to digital.
With many officials and administrators familiar with sending emails with attachments and word documents, much of NZTFI’s work was manual and largely paper-based.
This also reduced the efficiency of day-to-day operations, especially on the weekend of a tournament.
“It was a learning process for a lot of us and there was a lot of resistance to change,” said Claude Iusitini, national development officer.
“There was a huge margin for error, and probably the biggest empowerment for us is we now know how many people play the game on a given day or at a given event, how much it costs and can have accurate budgets.
“Those things really streamline the sport. We had a huge review in 2021, and there were so many things that we needed to do.
“GameDay, just with the registration process and refereeing appointments through Schedula, has taken away 50% of what we needed to work on.”
Theory into practice
Having worked alongside the GameDay team to truly understand the capabilities of their new technology, the theory was put into practice at the International Tag Series.
Over 420 games were seamlessly arranged across 15 fields during three jam-packed days of fierce competition.
Things stepped up again at the Junior Tag Nationals in the major event that followed.
“It just clicked, and it’s been really helpful," Claude Iusitini admitted.
“At the Junior Tag Nationals, we had 39 fields over three days, 25 age group divisions and over 4,500 participants, and you just had to have a system like that.
“That’s where the GameDay app hit a home run because it was so automated.”
Benefits when seeking funding
NZTFI are a non-profit organisation, with no funding from Sport New Zealand.
At a stage of real growth for the sport, NZTFI are keen to ensure that GameDay plays a major role in helping support their goal of setting up tag football modules around the country, by making it compulsory to use GameDay registration at that level.
“Funders more and more these days want to know stats on where your people are from and basically what your audience looks like,” Lisa Iusitini explained.
“They’re all things in the past that we’d taken a bit of a guess at. It was a small enough sport where you sort of knew where your audience was.
“Using GameDay has had a big benefit for us, not just in a work capacity but a financial one too. Long-term, I think it will help us a lot.”
The potential of GameDay
With the relationship between NZTFI and GameDay still in its infancy, there is still plenty of scope for development as the sport grows in popularity and participation.
In a bid to understand their audience a little better, NZTFI had a large call with stakeholders in 2020/21 and asked what could be improved.
An effective registration processes was one of the most popular responses.
With the support of GameDay, the shift to digitisation has already begun. But how does Claude Iusitini feel about the work done so far?
“It’s still in its early stages. We’re definitely utilising a fair chunk of the technology, but we still feel like there’s so much that we can do.
“We’re only tapping into a small portion of what is possible.”
Why work with us?
Having forged relationships with organisations across the sporting ecosystem, GameDay is proud to help anyone from grassroots level through to the elite game.
NZTFI have put their trust in GameDay and expect more organisations to follow suit if they want to maintain their appeal in the eyes of a 21st century audience.
“We often go to networking breakfasts with other sports, and we talk about our strengths and weaknesses,” Lisa Iusitini said.
“One of the points of discussion was about how Sport New Zealand is wanting everyone to go digital, and it’s surprising because we are only one of the few who are doing that.
“We know how our audience wants to interact with us, and it’s definitely online.
“I do think that organisations that don’t want to go digital will eventually get left behind. You have to listen to what your people want.”