Netball adds to website load

By Patrick O'Sullivan

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Former Silver Fern Irene van Dyk conducts a netball clinic at Hawke's Bay Regional Sports Park. The sport has signed Hawke's Bay company Sportsground to provide an online administration platform.
Former Silver Fern Irene van Dyk conducts a netball clinic at Hawke's Bay Regional Sports Park. The sport has signed Hawke's Bay company Sportsground to provide an online administration platform.

From a corrugated shed on a Havelock North vineyard, Sportsground continues its growth as one of the busiest internet sites in the country by formalising its relationship with netball for digital administration.

Netball New Zealand (NNZ) chief executive Hilary Poole said Sportsground would be the preferred partner for digital administration services across the country.

Sportsground already has a relationship with 64 per cent of NNZ-affiliated centres and many clubs and schools.

Chief executive Mike Purchas said Sportsground ran sport administration services for "a whole bunch" of smaller codes and with the netball deal it now had three of the four most popular codes.

"If you measure the size of a code by participation there are really only four sports codes that have very high numbers - more than 100,000 participants. They are rugby, netball, soccer/football and touch," he said.

"Of those we have rugby, netball and touch."

Sportsground receives millions of page views per month but the workload was not seasonal.

"Most sport participation in New Zealand is winter-based and school age, if you look at sheer numbers of participants, but over the summer with sports such as tennis, athletics and touch we still find ourselves quite busy."

Currently the business was "flat tack" gearing up for winter sport, giving training workshops throughout New Zealand to new club administrators.

Clubs had a high turnover of volunteer administrators because participation was often linked to the participation of their children.

He said schools were increasingly using Sportsground to administer sport. The largest school in New Zealand, Auckland's Rangitoto College, had 40 sports co-ordinators on its staff for 3500 students.

With schools gearing up for 2016 "it is a little bit manic".

Purchas founded the company in 2008 and has Hawke's Bay winemaker Sir Graeme Avery and The Warehouse founder Sir Stephen Tindall as shareholders.

"Most of what we do is for free - 90-plus per cent of our users make no direct payment and the other 5 per cent pay sufficiently to keep the wheels turning.

"Since we started we have never had a month that was behind.

"It is not for the faint-hearted - we are still working flat out - but we are very pleased with the way it is going."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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