Why digital transformation is vital for Australian football

Digital transformation in sport has a vast array of benefits, providing large opportunities for growth and enhancing fan experiences.

Australian football should embrace digital transformation in order for it to succeed and grow into the future.

A simple definition of digital transformation is when businesses or organisations use digital technology to change the way that something is done.

Digital transformation in sport has a vast array of benefits, providing large opportunities for growth and enhancing fan experiences.

Australian football should be looking to provide constant connection with its fans, instead of just during the 90 minutes of a football game.


While the 2019/20 Hyundai A-League season did have a record amount of fan engagement with a 30% increase in digital followers and a 15% increase in engagements, there are plenty more opportunities to improve fan experience and engagement via digital transformation.

The FIFA 20 Hyundai A-League Tournament during the suspension of the A-League is a great example. It would be interesting to see a tournament like this played every year in the lead up to the season to attract younger fans and build some hype heading into the new campaign.

Social media allows for clubs to connect with fans easily, where press conferences could be live streamed or players could do Q&A’s on Facebook or Instagram Live.

There’s also opportunities at live events – digital activations at sporting events using data from the match can share information with fans at the game and at home.

The MLS and ESPN recently installed a big screen which nearly runs the length of the pitch at its recent ‘MLS is Back’ Tournament.

Tottenham Hotspurs’ new stadium is another example the digital transformation which Australian football should be looking to for inspiration.

The stadium features large video screens, wireless payment, has stadium wide connectivity with large amounts of Wi-Fi access points and has more bandwidth than any other stadium.

For NPL clubs, regular social media posting would allow the club to reach more Australian soccer fans. Branded content also allows clubs to provide more exposure to the sponsors. Clubs could also make money through these types of deals.


This becomes especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic, where some clubs are struggling financially due to seasons being cancelled or less games being played. Branded content could provide clubs with some extra income.

Borussia Dortmund recently signed a partnership with Indian Premier League club Hyderabad FC. Dortmund will be helping to improve Hyderabad’s fan engagement, which will now have to be done in a different way.

“We can’t even think about fans in stadium right now, so it has to be done in a very organic way. We will be doing it through digital means first and soon as we can travel, we’ll have the Fan Liaison Officer to come over to India to give Hyderabad FC an understanding of how the whole phenomenon of the Dortmund fan culture exists. It’ll be a long-stretched process, but I’m positive we’ll get there one day,” Dortmund’s Managing Director for Asia-Pacific Suresh Letchmanan said.

As fans cannot be present at games in the large numbers they’re used to, the fan experience has to be rethought.

Melbourne Victory’s pre-game show ‘Victory TV’  is easily accessible for fans being streamed live on YouTube and Facebook. It provides an easy way for fans to stay engaged with their team during the pandemic.

InCrowd is a fan experience platform and services agency. InCrowd’s Head of partnerships for Australia and New Zealand, Seb Lear, spoke to Ministry of Sport about digital transformation.

“I think this transformation was inevitable and we were already seeing significant progress, but the pandemic has driven many rightsholders to bring their digital plans forward,” Lear said.

“It was Microsoft who said recently that 2 years’ worth of digital transformation had happened in 2 months, and I don’t think sport is any different.”

Mobile-only ticketing is another example of digital transformation that should be considered. This could track when people come into stadiums where they sit allowing for people to be easily identified if there are outbreaks at matches.


Other sporting leagues and organisations around the world have embraced digital transformation and are finding success because of it.

“We will be watching this sports content battle closely over the coming year, as well as the success/engagement from the Facebook MLB endeavour, as it could be a sign of things to come with streaming platforms playing a bigger role in global professional sports broadcasting rights in the years ahead and potentially shaking up this market, while adding a major notch on the content belts of Amazon, Facebook and other new tech entrants to this arena,” Daniel Ives, head of technology research at GBH Insights, told CNBC in March 2018.

This has now happened, the sports media landscape has changed and while it is still an option it is no longer absolutely necessary to go through the traditional media organisations.

The sports industry and technology has moved to allow for clubs and organisations to provide direct channels of content straight to consumers.

In the recent FFA online surveys on the XI principles, 72% people believed that the FFA/the leagues should create an on demand/live streaming football platform.

Having all Australian football available in one place would accessing content very easy for consumers.

At a time when A-League clubs are lacking free to air exposure and wanting to reach more fans free live streaming could also be an option.

The A-League in particular should look at having some games being broadcast on a service such as Twitch.

FFA CEO James Johnson recently spoke to NewsCorp about the future of the game.

“I didn’t come back here just to administer the sport. What was interesting to me was really transforming it,” Johnson said.

Transformation is on the horizon and the digital side of it cannot be forgotten.

Daniel Foley is a sports junior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and micro industry matters.

KordaMentha Partner Scott Langdon on why the Newcastle Jets need long-term investment

McDonald Jones Stadium - Newcastle Jets

The sale of Newcastle Jets has been announced by the club’s Executive Chairman Shane Mattiske, where they have appointed professional services firm KordaMentha to oversee the formal process.

A consortium of parties formed in 2021 that was linked to other A-League clubs was initially started as a provisional measure to maintain the Club, to put out a team that could compete and strong growth during a challenging period for the Jets in the middle of the Covid crisis back in January 2021.

KordaMentha is an independent and reliable firm providing their knowledge on cybersecurity, forensic, financial crime, performance improvement, real estate and restructuring services across the Asia-Pacific region.

Fast forward to now, the owners of today have been responsible for the successes of the increasing membership signups, captivating more sponsors and developing a strong core of talent through the Youth Academy.`

KordaMentha Partner Scott Langdon spoke to Soccerscene – providing an insight of his involvement in the sale process, what he hopes to achieve for the club and the A-Leagues as well.

“The shareholders reached out to us a few weeks ago in relation into commencing a sale of the club – they considered at the time to put Newcastle Jets on the market and find a long-term owner, for someone that won’t be there for a short period of time,” he said.

“The current shareholders didn’t have the intention of being there long-term, so we need to be there for Newcastle to get them through a challenging period.

“Shane has done a great job in getting the club as a business back on its feet – it’s now in a position where it’s stabilised and it’s time for a long-term owner in a natural progression stage for the club.”

Langdon explained what he sees in Newcastle and why should someone should get behind them, tapping into the unique area they represent.

“In the last couple of weeks that l have been involved, it has been overwhelming, for the local community and the region that Newcastle has and the support for them,” he said.

“l think that whilst we are looking globally to find an owner and we are having conversations with people throughout the world, there is a great ability to connect within the Newcastle region which is a very passionate soccer region.”

“The strong local links to the community is another key reason why we’re involved, and it’s an exciting opportunity to be part of the process.”

As recently seen with Perth Glory and their new Australian consortium owners Primeland Group signing the contract, Langdon shared whether KordaMentha is looking for someone within Australia or abroad.

“We are definitely looking on a global stage for a long-term owner – we have attracted interest within our first 48 hours from around the globe,” he said.

“We are all focused on completing it by Christmas which we think is entirely achievable.”

Newcastle Jets now has highly competitive men’s and women’s A-League teams, underpinned by a strong academy containing 13 boys’ and girls’ teams delivering exciting talent into these squads.

It is now a key time for the club to follow suit with what has gone ahead at Perth Glory, to lock in a sustainable future.

HERO Hybrid Grass: Transforming stadiums for elite football events

HERO Hybrid Grass

In the world of sports, where passion and precision collide, the playing field holds a special significance.

When it comes to hosting elite, high-profile football events, one challenge has always stood out; Maintaining the highest-quality natural grass throughout the entirety of the tournament. This challenge led Hamish Sutherland and his team at HG Turf Group on a remarkable journey of innovation, resulting in the creation of the revolutionary HERO Hybrid Grass.

HERO Hybrid Grass is the result of a ground-breaking partnership between HG Turf Group, Sport Group, Polytan (a member of Sport Group), and GST Global. This consortium of expertise seamlessly blends German synthetic fibre technology, South Korean manufacturing proficiency, and Australian natural grass know-how. The outcome? A technological marvel that is transforming the game of football from the ground up.

Sport Group Fibre: The key ingredient

Central to this innovation is the Sport Group fibre, a pinnacle of German engineering. With a legacy of excellence in developing synthetic grass fibre, Sport Group’s contribution to HERO Hybrid Grass is pivotal. This partnership not only enriches the product’s performance but also propels the industry forward by delving into eco-friendly solutions. Sport Group’s venture into petroleum-free and CO₂ neutral fibres showcases a commitment to sustainability, aligning seamlessly with the changing environmental consciousness.

The hybrid advantage

Hybrid grass, the harmonious marriage of natural grass (95%) and synthetic grass (5%), has revolutionised elite football tournaments. The addition of synthetic fibres augments stability, durability, and consistency to the playing surface. As a result, players experience enhanced ball bounce, ball roll, and secure footing, redefining the dynamics of the game. Notably, this technical edge does not compromise the authentic feel of natural grass—a testament to the meticulous engineering behind HERO Hybrid Grass.

Making the beautiful game even more beautiful

Hybrid grass technology has opened new doors for football enthusiasts. Stadiums have become arenas of unparalleled performance, where players and teams can truly shine. The consistent playing surface ensures breath-taking plays, showcasing the sport at its pinnacle. Moreover, this innovation transcends players and teams, captivating spectators with an unmatched football experience. With HERO Hybrid Grass, fans are treated to impeccable playability, translating into unforgettable moments on the field.

Strong environmental performance

In an era where sustainability takes centre stage, HERO Hybrid Grass stands as a testament to responsible innovation. The partnership between HG Turf Group, Sport Group, GST Global, and Polytan underscores their collective commitment to environmental stewardship. At the end of its useful life, HERO Hybrid Grass is 100% recyclable, contributing to a circular economy. This dedication to reducing the environmental footprint aligns with the partners’ shared values, leaving a lasting legacy both on and off the field.

Pitches made better: By science and nature

The synergy between cutting-edge engineering and the beauty of natural grass is embodied in HERO Hybrid Grass. This remarkable collaboration redefines the playing field and sets new standards for football pitch technology. With installations at prestigious stadiums hosting the Women’s World Cup at venues – such as Stadium Australia, Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, Perth Rectangular Stadium, Eden Park, and Wellington Regional Stadium – the impact of this partnership reverberates across the globe.

In an ever-evolving world where innovation is paramount, the HERO Hybrid Grass story is a testament to what can be achieved when expertise from around the world converges with a shared vision. As the football world looks forward to more elite events, it’s clear that the hero of the field isn’t just the player – it’s the ground they stand on.

Most Popular Topics

Editor Picks

Send this to a friend