‘Analytics’ was a meaningless term at Football NSW headquarters a year ago, according to chief executive officer (CEO), Eddie Moore.
The state’s governing body for the round-ball game implemented SAS Visual Analytics about 10 months ago to analyse data to better understand and engage with clubs, players, coaches and referees in its jurisdiction.
The SAS software sits inside the organisation’s marketing function.
“We are learning every day,” Moore said. “For an organisation of our size, to have [visual data] in front of us and take it to our audience – whether it’s a government, sponsor, or member club – is extremely powerful.”
“We’re not a big company, but we have a huge customer group and database we need to satisfy. We do not have a huge marketing budget and we have to be smart about how we spend our money.”
Football NSW is a not-for-profit organisation that looks after 208,000 registrants across the state (sans Northern NSW which has its own governing body). It employs 57 staff, one of which forms the entirety of its IT department.
With participation in the world’s biggest sport having grown 15 per cent over the past three years in Australia, Football NSW is using the software to attract and retain participants by focusing on the three Fs – football, finance, and facilities.
Football NSW has thus far used SAS to: assess means of not only improving winter competitions, but to increase numbers of participants within summer leagues (both indoor and outdoor) by looking at registration growth and drop-offs. It has also honed into specific audiences to find value for sponsors, in turn boosting advertising revenue. Finally, it has reviewed player to facility ratios to determine critical areas of improvement in order to build more appropriate facilities.
“SAS gives us good data, and understanding the quality is key,” Moore said. “We’re at a stage where we can predict drop-outs and churn in particular areas, and we can react before clubs fall in size.
“We are looking at linking the outputs of our financial and digital desktop reporting into the SAS systems and link that back to us.”
“This coming season we can monitor in real-time registrations and understand where we might be short for referees and start acting at the start of the season rather than half way through.”
“We’ve been challenged on our understanding of our data, and hopefully we are making a difference by making evidence-based decisions that are good for the game.”