“Domo gave us the confidence and reassurance to stick with what we were doing.”
GM of Communications and Marketing
New Zealand Rugby League is a non-profit national sports organization tasked with overseeing the growth, development, and delivery of rugby league in the country.
After international competition was suspended for two years, this sports organization needed to bring fans back to the stands.
The organization used Domo to uncover which fans were most likely to attend.
The match was the first time an international rugby league event sold out in New Zealand since 1988, while achieving a world attendance record for a women’s Rugby League international match.
New Zealand Rugby League achieves sellout success with the help of Domo.
Rugby league is more than just a game in New Zealand. It’s a way of life; one that was severely disrupted due to the pandemic. While rugby league could be played safely at the club level within New Zealand and professionally over in Australia, thanks to the country’s stringent border controls, those same controls made international play impossible for more than two years.
In order to return international rugby league to the spotlight, New Zealand Rugby League knew it would need to leverage all the data at its disposal. That’s when they turned to Domo.
“We were able to fill the stands for our first international Test match in two years with help from Domo.”
Bringing international Rugby home.
In addition to delivering the grassroots game across the country, New Zealand Rugby League is also responsible for New Zealand’s professional international teams: the top-ranked Kiwis men’s team and World 9s Champion Kiwi Ferns women’s team. After a two-year pandemic, resulting in zero professional rugby league on home soil, NZRL was given the chance to host an international double-header Test match, bringing the pinnacle rugby league event back to New Zealand shores.
“With the NRL playing 25 weeks of a regular season, on average we usually have an international window of about four weeks a year,” Wills explained. “With that, retaining momentum in our fan base was already a challenge, but when you add a global pandemic on top of it with zero Test matches for two years straight, we were suffering from a significant lull in fan engagement.”
Working with their digital partner LayerCake, New Zealand Rugby League identified Domo as the platform the organization would use to execute a data strategy designed to increase fan engagement and boost ticket sales for the match and beyond. “We selected Domo as the data management platform thanks to its ability to store, process, and visualize content in one platform,” said Padraig O’Donovan, Director at LayerCake.
Thanks to Domo, New Zealand Rugby League was able to leverage its historical ticket data, marketing data, social marketing data, and customer data to inform and boost its marketing impact in the run-up to the Test match. Not only were they able to be more precise in who they marketed to, but they were able to correlate the exact impact each marketing effort had on ticket sales.
“Before Domo, we didn’t really have clear insight into who we were marketing to or confidence in the impact of it,” Wills said. “When we got Domo, we were able to see how each email we sent was directly correlated to ticket sales, which is something that we’ve never done before.”
Because New Zealand Rugby League could better track the impact of their marketing spend, they were able to redeploy some of their marketing dollars knowing that they had hit their targets. “This year, they were able to reduce their social spending because they knew they already hit the target and would have a sellout event,” said O’Donovan.
“We had never before been able to do a campaign where we could actually measure the direct impact of it as we were going,” Wills said. “Domo gave us the confidence and reassurance to stick with what we were doing, which alleviated any unease across the organization.”
By unlocking the power of their data, New Zealand Rugby League was able to quickly grow its email subscriber list from 12,000 to 50,000 passionate fans. In addition, the organization reached nearly 5 million people across its social channels. All this exposure helped the organization sellout an international rugby league event in New Zealand for the first time since the 1988 Rugby League World Cup final, in addition to achieving a world attendance record for a women’s Rugby League international match.
Data for the win.
Moving forward, New Zealand Rugby League plans to use Domo as its single source of truth, not to mention the operating system it uses to manage not just high-profile events but its daily operations.
“When you run a competition, you don’t need just players, but coaches, volunteers, and referees,” O’Donovan said. “The ability to monitor and manage these human resources by region is going to be built into dashboards that are going to be delivered to the team, which will allow them to more effectively allocate people on game days.”
“Domo gives us the ability to analyze and interpret data to achieve our business objectives, no matter if it’s our grassroots activity, marketing, or preparing for the World Cup,” Wills said.
“We have insights across the board, not just for this one particular event, but for our whole organization going forward.”