Sports Business

Bek works out high intensity coronavirus response

WHILE the world is locking down to beat COVID-19, Bek Strachan is unlocking the power of high intensity home exercise as an antidote to social restrictions and physical inertia.

Director and head trainer at exercise studio Raw by Bek, Ms Strachan is opening the doors of her digital studio and encouraging Australians to clear the space in their living room, set up their yoga mats and get moving.  

Leading the way in both fitness and business with an increasingly popular new form of High Interval Intensity Training (HIIT)Ms Strachan has digitised her fitness program and pivoted the business in order to continue delivering her HIIT-to-the-beat workouts across Australia – an even internationally.   

Bek Strachan started the company when she was 24, and Raw by Bek now has over 150 members since the studio opened in 2016.

With the business paused in what had been a strong growth phase, COVID-19 has challenged Ms Strachan to think, innovate and adapt in order to continue thriving. She said it was about continuing to deliver on her promise of not only providing “a killer workout” but a healthy social community too.

Raw by Bek’s new digital program involves live-streamed workouts at different times throughout the day; Facebook events; The Raw by Bek Project Show with episodes on nutrition, exercise and how to remain fit and healthy indoors; and online access to recipes and healthy food preparation methods.

“The feedback from the Raw by Bek community has been really positive,” Ms Strachan said.

She said despite the challenges Raw By Bek is facing, “the community is worth it”.

“Our budget has been slashed, and without any definite end date, I've been forced to forward-plan for six months of closure, and ensure we are able to re-open on the other side with a community of members even stronger than before the close,” Ms Strachan said.

“I’m loving the challenge and how fast we've had to adapt, and am so thankful our community has done the same.”


Fitness Australia: Australia’s sole traders need recognition to survive

AUSTRALIA's 1.4 million sole traders face dire circumstances due to COVID-19 according to Fitness Australia CEO, Barrie Elvish, whose organisation represents more than 10,000 fitness industry sole traders.

He is calling on the Federal Government to provide more financial support and assistance to this business sector, claiming not enough was being done to ensure they can survive the current environment. 

“In Australia, more than 62 percent of small businesses are sole traders and it appears to date the government has provided no means of financial support to these hard-working Australians,” Mr Elvish said. 

“Small business is at the core of the Australian economy employing more than 2.2 million people and we are already starting to see businesses really struggling and don’t know how long they can continue to survive.

“We are calling on the Australian Government to provide financial support and assistance to sole traders, casual employees and small business, many of whom proudly operate in the fitness industry," he said.

“Already the sole traders in our member network, many of whom operate as personal trainers, have seen a sharp drop in their clients due to travel restrictions, social-distancing and self-isolation.

"While we applaud and fully support the government on their recommended health and safety measures, nothing is being done to support this section of the business community that is greatly impacted,” Mr Elvish said.

In addition to advocating for more financial support for sole traders, Fitness Australia is also urging the government to consider gyms an essential service.

“Exercise is imperative to our mental health and wellbeing – gyms need to stay open to allow people to continue their regular exercise. Protecting and managing mental health during this uncertain and concerning time is essential," Mr Elvish said.

“With the strict hygiene, health and safety measures in place, gyms can stay open. We are actively working with our members every day to ensure government laws and guidelines are being met, while also providing additional recommendation on how facilities can continue do more to ensure the safest possible environment to exercise.”


First Asia-focused sports tech investment house launched by Varcis Capital

VARCIS Capital recently launched what it labels the world’s first Asia-focused sports technology investment and advisory house.

Headquartered in Hong Kong and with imminent leadership announcements to be made in China and Australia, Varcis has a vision to become the world’s most important sports technology and human performance platform in Asia.

Varcis Capital founder and managing partner Phillip King said the company was founded on the core belief that Asia’s 4.7 billion people (62% of the world’s population) would have a big role to play in the future intersection of sports, fitness, health, wellness and technology.

“Varcis Capital and our partners are committed to the intersection of sports and technology in Asia – specifically sport, fitness, health, medical, wellness, eSports and human performance –making direct investments and transaction advice to companies,” Mr King said. 

“The first problem with the global landscape is the majority of venture capital for the sports technology industry is American centric which represents only 5 percent of the world’s human population – Asia has 62 percent of the world’s population (4.7 billion people) and is home to fastest-markets growing at 20 percent CAGR at the intersection of sports, fitness, health, wellness and technology.

“The second problem is that Asia’s best entrepreneurs need more local investment, capital markets expertise and integrated ecosystems to accelerate faster and work more closely with Asia sports clients,” Mr King said.

“Varcis Capital and its partners aim to co-create an open end-to-end ecosystem for sports technology that seamlessly connects, celebrates, supports and turbo-charges the best and brightest sports technology and human performance across 48 countries in the Asia region.”

Mr King said Varcis Capital had created a world-class leadership team, combining elite sports experience, investment management and brand licensing, venture growth research and transaction advice in Asia.

“The Varcis Investment Division will write ‘seed’ and ‘Series A’ cheques of between US$500,000  and $5 million and the Varcis Transactional Team will provide expertise – from M&A, IPO and due diligence advice, technical expertise and brand distribution licencing – to fast-track companies looking to expand, create and monetize sports in Asia,”  he said.

According to Mr King, the Varcis global partner network has access to “tens of thousands of sports teams, leagues and organisations in Asia and internationally – as well as the world’s leading sports entrepreneurs and exciting young companies”.

The company’s main geographic focus markets include China, Australia, India, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines and Korea and all 48 countries across the Asia region, while Varcis is establishing physical offices in Hong Kong, Beijing and Melbourne in 2020.


Roy Morgan kicks off live sports sponsorship platform

ROY MORGAN has launched the Genome Audience Planner in alliance with TEG Analytics as a ‘next generation sponsorship planning and optimisation platform’.

The platform is expected to change the way advertisers in Australia identify, reach and measure new sponsorship opportunities across the live sport and entertainment sector.

According to Roy Morgan research, the Australian media rights and sponsorship sector is worth more than $4 billion a year. However, Roy Morgan chief digital officer Howard Seccombe said as an increasingly significant marketing and media channel, event sponsorship lagged behind the audience science of other media.

“As a single initiative, the Genome Audience Planner will not only validate the strength of this market, but accelerate the introduction of new brand dollars into the event sector,” Mr Seccombe said. 

“For the first time this new platform will enable advertises to directly connect their target audiences with live events to build their sponsorship strategy, understand gaps and performance."

Genome Audience Planner brings together TEG ’s extensive audience and live ticketing data of more than 14 million Australians with Roy Morgan Single Source, Australia’s largest and most comprehensive consumer data set for media and channel planning. This combination on the platform will help profile the brand preferences and consumer choices of live audiences across the arts, entertainment and live sports sectors.

“The partnership with Roy Morgan points to the exciting future direction of data analytics in the sport and entertainment sector,” Geoff Jones, the CEO of TEG, the parent company of TEG Analytics said.

It is about intelligent collaboration that combines the power of leading players. That is exactly what we have achieved with the partnership between TEG Analytics and Roy Morgan.”

By defining a particular fan base, product preference or behaviour, lifestyle or demographic, Genome Audience Planner prioritises the products or services fans prefer, or events which are best suited to a particular target audience such as a new car buyer.

For the first time, Mr Secfcombe said, the live entertainment sector can now be defined as a measurable ‘media channel’ consistent with other media like television, digital or outdoor, enabling live entertainment to play a role inside a broader advertising strategy.

Advertisers will be able to optimise sponsorship budgets across paid, owned and earned media, identify gaps and deepen consumer engagement and shape customer experiences.

“Genome Audience Planner provides a huge set of insights into the live economy – the who, what and where of fans and participants alike,” TEG Analytics and Insights general manager Andrew Reid said. “It allows sponsors and event owners the chance to build their own audience profiles and create more value for the medium.”

TEG lays claim to being Asia Pacific’s leading ticketing, live entertainment and data analytics company.  TEG includes Ticketek, TEG Live, TEG Dainty, TEG Analytics, TEG Insights, TEG Digital, Softix, Qudos Bank Arena, Eventopia, Life Like Touring, The Entertainment Store, Brickman Exhibitions and TEG Asia.



Racing Queensland welcomes prize money increase for greyhound and harness racing

RACING Queensland chairman Steve Wilson has welcomed a State Government decision to make available funds for an immediate 17 percent prize money increase for the greyhound and harness racing codes.

Mr Wilson said prize money would increase collectively by $5.5 million a year, co-funded by the Queensland Government and Racing Queensland, to be distributed according to each code’s revenue market share.

Greyhounds will receive an increase of $3.5 million, with $2 million for harness, both of which aim to progress industry viability concerns, boost grassroots participation and improve cash flow for participants and owners.

For harness, this is in addition to the increase of $200,000 in drivers’ fees which commenced in August this year.

“I would again like to thank the government for its willingness to engage with all three codes to address industry viability and long-term sustainability,” Mr Wilson said.

The 17 percent increase is consistent with the $18 million announced for thoroughbred prize money in October, he said.

Racing Queensland (RQ) CEO Brendan Parnell said RQ would now consult with representatives from greyhound and harness racing regarding the prize money allocation with a view to roll-out the increases as soon as possible.

“We have made a commitment to government to continue investigating industry reforms and sustainability measures across all codes,” Mr Parnell said.

“Once those reform measures are agreed, we will work with the greyhound and harness industries to realise a collective $2.5 million in participant increases, in parallel with the $8 million thoroughbred reform increases in 2019.”


Racing Queensland launches new Country Cups Challenge

RACING Queensland has created the ‘Country Cups Challenge’, celebrating the significant contribution country racing makes to the sporting calendar – and culminating in a $70,000 metropolitan final on one of the Summer Racing Carnival’s most popular days.

Set for Group 3 George Moore Stakes Day at Doomben on December 1, 2018, the Country Cups Challenge will bring together the winners of 16 Country Cups held across Queensland between September and November.

Racing Queensland general manager of Racing (Thoroughbred) Simon Stout said the new series was a welcome addition to the new-look and highly successful Queensland Summer Racing Carnival. 

“I welcome this new series as it provides Racing Queensland with another fabulous opportunity to showcase our regional participants, who are among the country’s most talented and hard-working, to a nationwide audience,” Mr Stout said.

“While the Battle of the Bush put the spotlight on some of the bush’s most hardened sprinters, the Country Cups Challenge will act as a ‘grand final’ for Queensland’s country cups circuit.”

This new challenge complements the inaugural Battle of the Bush Series, which brought 16 sprinters from the country to the city on Sky Racing Tattersall’s Tiara Day.

Mr Stout said Racing Queensland recognised the significant contribution country racing has made, and continues to make to the wider industry and state economy.

“Country racing generates 47 percent of the $1.2 billion in economic value the Queensland industry generates each year,” Mr Stout said.

The final will be run under the conditions of a Quality Handicap (1600m) race, with qualifiers required to have competed in no less than three non-TAB races in the 12 months immediately preceding acceptance date for that qualifying race. 

Like the Battle of the Bush Series, float subsidies of between $500 and $2000, depending on the region of travel, will be paid to the trainers of horses that remain in the final field after final scratching time.


Aust. Diamonds head coach signs with Netfit Netball

NETFIT Netball has signed Samsung Australian Diamonds’ head coach Lisa Alexander as its official ‘coach ambassador’ to help boost access to the sport.

The new My Netfit app – known as the ‘Netflix of Netball’ – is the brainchild of former elite netballer Sarah Wall and current Giants netball captain and former Diamonds’ vice captain, Kim Green.

My Netfit provides users with on-demand access to interactive netball resources tailored for both players and coaches, including a full year fitness, nutrition, coaching and well-being plan. 

“To have Lisa Alexander part of the Netfit Netball family and endorse our philosophies is not only a coup for Netfit but for the netball community who will use the My Netfit app,” Sarah Wall said.  

“Lisa will join leading Australian netballer Kim Green and other health and fitness experts in delivering exclusive video and written content for the My Netfit app as part of a personal development plan to inspire players and coaches.” 

One of the most successful national team coaches of any sport in modern times, and known as ‘The People’s Coach’, Ms Alexander will share her coaching knowledge with My Netfit subscribers through a series of exclusive videos that provide real-time, step-to-step instruction and analysis.

“I’ve long admired Netfit Netball’s passionate and progressive approach to promoting the holistic benefits of playing netball, and how Netfit deliver programs that reflect the way in which the public want to engage in sport,” Ms Alexander said.

“Netball continues to be the top team sport for female participation in Australia and there is a growing appetite from within the netball community to access elite knowhow to aid both individual and team development. 

“The My Netfit app enables users based in cities, regional or remote areas to access premium content that is not only cutting-edge but portable, engaging and relevant,” Ms Alexander said. 

Ms Wall said the My Netfit app year-round plan is broken down into six-week blocks. The inaugural six-week program started on July 16. 

The My Netfit  plan includes a fitness program of HIIT classes, running drills, body weight training, speed, footwork and agility. It also focuses on nutrition – with an eating plan and recipes – along with well-being aspects such as yoga and meditation. The My Netfit coaching content includes session plans, team fitness activities and worksheets.

The app is available in both android and IOS and a yearly subscription is $119. 


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