As an industry sector, we all acknowledge that there is a need to encourage more people to be active and provide them with opportunities to play, recreate, keep fit, and participate at all levels. Over the past few years we have seen the growth of new programs, events and more accessible facilities but little growth in formal participation numbers in physical activity in Australia.

The National Sports Convention 2019 (NSC) has engaged more than a dozen collaborators and over 125 global and Australian organisations to come together to encourage the industry to be more innovative in the way it plans, funds, and provides active recreation and community opportunities. With over 900 delegates the NSC is the largest business to business community sport convention in the southern hemisphere. 

The Australian Sport, Recreation, Play Innovation Awards announced their Category Award Winners on Wednesday 24th July and the Overall Winner on Thursday 25th July as part of the Global Thought Leaders Session with close to 1,000 delegates celebrating the finalists and the winner. These Innovation Awards aim at recognising and celebrating Innovation that has promoted and encouraged more people to play, recreate and participate in sport.

Each category winner received a trophy and $500 cash award. The finalists and winners of each category are: 

  1. Programs, Activities and Events:                                                                                                                                       Innovative programs, activities and events that have been developed to encourage the community to be more active in large numbers:
  • ACTIV8 RYAN, A fully inclusive physical education program to activate the whole student population (Qld) – Ryan Catholic College
  • Man v Fat Soccer – Australia (WA) – University of Western Australia 
  • NAB RunWest (NSW), Community running event – Athletics Australia & Athletics NSW

The 2019 JOINT WINNERS: Ryan Catholic College & NAB RunWest

  1. Sports Surfaces

Innovative solutions that allow greater intensity and durability of natural, hybrid, synthetic or hard sports surfaces that allow for greater usage:

  • Aura Sports Floor (Qld) – Aura Sports 
  • Australian Catholic University FIFA Field and movable cricket wicket – Hansen Yuncken 

The 2019 WINNER: Hansen Yuncken for their FIFA Football field over a carpark with a movable cricket wicket at Australia Catholic University, Strathfield NSW 

  1. Technological Solutions and Products

Business to business or business to consumer innovations that encourage more people to play sport or be active:

  • GameDay Mobile App (NSW) – Stack Sports 
  • Cricket Australia Coach APP (Vic) – Cricket Australia 
  • SportsEye Network (NSW) – ActiveXchange   

The 2019 WINNER: SportsEye Network and ActiveXchange 

  1. Playground Design and Development

Designs and developments that allow and encourage more children to play, have fun and be active:

  • Scarborough Beach Intergenerational Plaza (WA) – City of Stirling 
  • Carrs Bush Inclusive Playground (NSW) – Hornsby Shire Council 
  • Brimbank Nature Play – REVAMP research project – Deakin University

The 2019 WINNER: Brimbank Nature Play – REVAMP research project – Deakin University 

  1. Marketing and Communications Innovations

The packaging and communication of an opportunity in a manner that has innovatively encouraged more people to be active:

  • Sports Surfacing for the Colour Blind (Education guide) – Grassports Australia (Qld)
  • Exercise Right Week (Aus) – Exercise  & Sports Science Australia 
  • Membership Retention and Communication Campaign (Aus) – Belgravia Leisure and ActiveXchange 

The 2019 WINNER: Exercise & Sports Science Australia for their Exercise Right Week 

  1. Facility Design and Development 

Innovative design and management that creates and environment where more people are active, (built and natural environments):

  • Penshurst Park Sporting Hub Stage 1 (NSW) – Georges River Council 
  • Modular Accessible Pavilions (Qld) – Ausco Modular 
  • Broken Hill Integrated Wellness Centre (NSW) – YMCA (NSW)

The 2019 WINNER: Broken Hill Integrated Wellness Centre (NSW), YMCA (NSW)

  1. Young Innovator of the Year 

A young person (under 25) who has developed a program, space, activity, technological solution or innovative partnership that is encouraging more people to be active:

  • Laura Eason (NSW) – YMCA (NSW)
  • Patrick Beazley (Vic) – SPORTENG  
  • Annie Flamsteed (Qld) – iNSPIRE  Sport Online 

 The 2019 WINNER: Annie Flamsteed (Qld) – iNSPIRE  Sport Online 

 The Overall Winner of the Australian Sport, Recreation, Play Innovation Awards was chosen from the seven individual winners as being the one that has shown the greatest innovation to the industry and can make the biggest impact.

 The overall winner was SportsEye by ActiveXchange.

 The SportsEye platform is changing how decisions are made throughout the sport, leisure, fitness sector in Australia. The SportsEye Network represents the largest central repository of data on participants (over 2.5 million), activity and facilities ever brought together in Australia. SportsEye is already used by 300+ leisure and fitness venues, and 13 state/ national sport bodies. 

 The Founder and CEO, Alex Burrows explained: “The predictive models behind the platform, overseen by a data science team similar to that used by the large supermarket chains, apply sector market intelligence (through data share arrangements with member management systems) to local circumstances. This helps organisations to locate and build facilities to meet local needs, and optimise the programming, pricing, fit-out and operations of existing facilities. SportsEye integrates advanced profiling and identification of future prospects into digital marketing channels such as Facebook, reducing lead generation costs by up to 40%, and is constantly tracking what works across a growing number of partners. It predicts which members will drop out, providing optimal mitigation interventions. And it tracks and helps grow Social Value, maximising the impact of future investment. SportsEye takes a holistic, joined up view to data, and the SportsEye Network is supporting collaboration, opening up visibility on shared investment and delivery opportunities” 

 Burrows continues “Data has always existed in our sector but to date this has rarely been translated into meaningful and consistent intelligence that can be accessed in a simple format. Get this right and investment and delivery partners have the confidence to change faster, as well as influence key strategic stakeholders. Our aim is to put a business intelligence option in the back pocket of every facility operator, council and sport partner, positively influencing millions of lives through proactive, positive and intelligence-led decisions. This will ultimate create and sustain more active facilities and communities throughout Australia”.