HomeUncategorizedTouch Football Continues Social Growth With NRL Touch Premiership

Touch Football Continues Social Growth With NRL Touch Premiership

Touch Football Continues Social Growth With NRL Touch Premiership

Thanks largely to the initial success of the NRL Touch Premiership, Touch Football Australia has the fastest growing social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram of any NSO (National Sports Organisation) in Australia.

In an exclusive interview with Ministry of Sport, Touch Football Australia CEO, Jamie O’Connor, said this success is largely due to the introduction and growth of the NRL Touch Premiership, combined with a complete structural redesign to the organisation’s social media engagement.

“A lot of our content socially, is driven by the NRL Touch Football Premiership, most of our key pieces of content from an engagement perspective are from the premiership, it gives us access week in, week out to a high level of content that we can pick apart and use as a tool to propel us further,” Mr O’Connor said.

“There’s definitely two things there though, the increase to our attention and resources for social media engagement and the strategy behind that has also definitely had an impact on our growth.

“Our socials have reached the point where we have the fastest growing social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram out of any other NSO.

“When you look at the size of our team against some of the really well-resourced sporting organisations around Australia, that’s really impressive, so we’ll continue to drive the premiership engagement.

“Regular, high-quality content is a major part of our social media strategies now that we have this elite, five-month-long premiership.

“If you look at the nature of our sport, particularly at the elite level, it’s fast, it’s action-packed, it’s highly skilled and our athletes are extremely talented, I think that’s a major part of why people are engaging with our content more regularly,” he said.

Since the introduction of the NRL Touch Premiership in 2018, as a result of a partnership between the NRL and Touch Football Australia, Touch Football has changed from a primarily Summer schedule sport with international and state-level national competitions, to a 12-month calendar sport.

“We have this elite program [the NRL Touch Premiership], that fits in the middle of the year for five months, it’s played in NRL stadiums and we have eight NRL clubs aligned to the league,” O’Connor said.

“It’s the largest investment we’ve made into touch football for any program and it’s our number one priority at least for the next two years.

“We’ve gone from delivering two or three really big tournaments as an organisation, to managing competition between a small number of teams with logistical issues around travel, flight and accommodation.

“Our events team and our staff who have been around for quite some time have had a pretty steep learning curve about what it’s like to produce these events on a weekly basis over five months,” he said, discussing the shift in strategy at Touch Football Australia.

When discussing the plans for further developing touch football going forward, O’Connor said participation, broadcast and commercial development will take up a lot of time and effort.

“We’re really close, hopefully before Christmas, to making some announcements around what the NRL Touch Premiership will look like for the next two years,” he said.

“The NRL broadcasters have been really supportive and are helping to create some sustainability around it so we’re really pleased and looking forward to making some big announcements around that soon.

“In terms of participation, before we joined with the NRL, junior participation was essentially flatlining, but in the last financial year since we’ve introduced the premiership, we’ve seen a 9.8% growth for the first time in the decade.

“Largely thanks to the groundwork our former CEO Steve Mitchell did in the commercial landscape, we’re a whole lot more targeted about the potential partners we’re talking to and why we want to talk to them.

“The opportunity is massive, we have such a raw product, about 50% of our participants are female, we can talk to young people, we can talk to not-so-young people, this gives us a great chance to tailor any potential partnerships to any demographic across the country that an organisation wants to talk to.

“We really focus on being able to target a really broad community, we know where we fit in the market and we can have authentic conversations with partners and grass-roots communities,” Mr O’Connor said.

O’Connor is well aware touch football doesn’t receive the same level of attention as other Australian sports, but he is completely confident in the product Touch Football Australia is strengthening, the strategies in place and the growth in engagement already seen over the last two years.

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