Australians are sport-obsessed – we watch more than 60 million hours a week of it and plan our lives around matches.
For venues, it can be a nightmare manually tracking the thousands of sports events and where they will be broadcast.
AGSM @ UNSW Business School alumni, Patrick Galloway is co-founder of Sportsyear – a scheduling platform that simplifies live sports planning for venues.
Galloway’s platform is currently used by more than 100 hospitality venues – including Merivale, Solotel and The Star, Sydney.
“Managing the live sport schedule for a venue is a problem that everybody in the hospitality industry finds extremely painful,” Mr Galloway says.
“Just sourcing the information takes hours each week.”
In the past, sports broadcasting was the domain of the public broadcasters – ABC and SBS. With the increase in cost of broadcast rights for popular sports, other market players stepped in.
Today, live sport is fragmented across hundreds of broadcasters.
Sportsyear tracks the who, what and when of sport by aggregating data to automate scheduling.
Venue owners can build their own custom live sport schedule that resonates with their particular demographic.
“We save venue operators 3 to 4 hours each week,” Mr Galloway says.
“We help them attract more sports fans with accurate, engaging and informative live sport promotions on their website.”
Mr Galloway said his background as a sports media professional certainly helped business. The UNSW graduate is a sports journalist at ABC News and his Sportsyear co-founder, Daniel Giorelando, is an editorial manager at Fox Sports.
“There were a few changes happening in the sports landscape and we were able to see it up close because we were working in the sports media,” Mr Galloway says.
Sportsyear first launched in 2003 with a print diary detailing the key sport events of the year. Sales of the print diary peaked at 10,000, but after going digital, the co-founders quickly realised that sports fans weren’t the main users.
“We built an MVP two years ago, but no one used it,” Mr Galloway says.
“That was definitely a low point for us, we had built this platform that we thought people would use but no one ended up using it.”
The turning point was when Bill, the venue manager at Palace Hotel Mort Lake, called the co-founders.
“Bill said he loved what we’d built,” Mr Galloway says.
“We realised we stumbled upon a big opportunity. There is a problem in hospitality in Australia specifically around planning in live sport.
“We started out thinking our product would be for sports fans and were surprised to discover we were solving a problem for a different type of customer.”
Mr Galloway says doing an MBA at AGSM @ UNSW Business School helped navigate the changes in the business.
“The design thinking and innovation learning I got from my MBA has really helped me drive Sportsyear's growth,” Mr Galloway says.
“I put all the pieces together including what I’ve learnt doing the MBA at UNSW around best practice innovation so that I could look back on our journey and understand how we went about building our digital platform.”