4 min read

Exclusive: Commercial Growth Of NRL Touch Football


In an exclusive interview with Ministry of Sport as part of the ‘Brand Break’ video interview series, NRL Touch Football general manager of commercial, Tim Wyld, explained the organisation’s strategy and process influencing its current commercial success.

Discussing the past couple of years and the challenges and opportunities created by COVID-19, Wyld said the focus on community activations has created a lot of value for commercial partners.

“We’ve been incredibly fortunate over the last 12-18 months bringing some new partners on board,” Wyld told Ministry of Sport.

“Something I think is the fruit of us really taking the opportunity during somewhat of a downtime in 2020 to really restructure our commercial program and that’s starting to pay off now.

“Two things happened during the pandemic; one was that people’s movements changed.

“Over the last two years, people haven’t been commuting as much and people have been more involved in their local communities and brands and marketers were really quick to identify that and adjust their strategies.

“Trying to reach people in local communities has become a much larger focus.

“Secondly, individuals have reassessed what’s valuable for them in their life, and some of the material things have dropped away and people are valuing their local community, so when you combine that movement with the emotion and connection of community, that’s where a sport like touch football can really engage those people for brands and have direct engagement.

“That’s key to our value proposition.

“We want to work really hard and closely with the partners we’ve brought on to deliver maximum value, but in saying that, there’s still other opportunities out there and we’re still looking to create new event concepts and grow the game.

“We want to make sure we spend the time primarily to deliver great returns for all our partners,” he said.

Providing recommendations for sporting organisations with a strong connection to community sport, Wyld said: “It starts from within, what I mean by that is you really need to understand your audience inside out, where they are, their age, demographics, disposable income metrics and more.”

“The more information and data you have on your audience, the more you can commercialise it and target particular industries and brands that align with that target market.

“That’s where we started, within self-reflection and identified it and then it flowed on from there.

“That’s my number one tip, take the time to understand your sport inside out and what you can offer, and be confident.

“Increasingly, brands are looking at tier two and tier three sports because they are affordable.

“If you can reach a large number of people and have a direct conversation with people, that’s attractive to brands.

“Most tier two and tier three sports generally operate a very flat structure where you’re only one or two short steps away from the consumer and that’s incredibly powerful,” he said.

Looking forward to NRL Touch Football’s continuously evolving commercial strategy and the return from COVID-19 disruptions, Wyld said the NRL Touch Premiership return, most likely towards the end of the year after a two-year hiatus, will play a crucial role in generating exposure and increasing participation.

“We’ve got some lofty goals internally where we want to make our sport more affordable for participants and to grow the game, that can’t occur without the support of our commercial partners who enable us to invest in programs and people,” Wyld told Ministry of Sport.

“Growing commercial revenue is enabling us to think differently and think boldly.

“When you talk about broadcast products, the NRL Touch Premiership is something that’s essential to our strategy and you can’t be what you can’t see.

“We want to bring that back to generate more exposure for touch football and get more people participating.

“One of the challenges us and all participation sports will face is addressing the churn that’s occurred through COVID.

“That’s quite a difficult and ongoing problem in a good year, but with two years of forced non participation in several states, how we bring participants back is going to be a real challenge for the industry,” he said.

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