A company headed by two former Cricket Australia executives has won a multimillion-dollar contract to build a bespoke replacement for MyCricket, the much-criticised digital portal for community cricket in Australia.
PlayHQ, which boasts the former CA chief executive James Sutherland as chairman and the ex-CA manager of media rights and strategy, Sam Walch, as chief executive, had already picked up major contracts to run digital fixturing, scoring and administration of basketball and Australian football at community levels.
But the confirmation of the deal with CA, which will see PlayHQ provide the platform for cricket clubs and programs across the country to be, in the words of the head of community cricket Belinda Clark, “able to be run from a smartphone” and is believed to be worth more than A$5 million, will have a huge impact on the lives of around 300,000 club players registered with MyCricket across the country, plus many more junior and school program participants.
“This is a critical project for Australian cricket. We need to get the basics right first, and there is an immediate need to replace the legacy platform with a system that is modern and makes it easier to do all the tasks required to run local programs and competitions,” CA’s head of customer experience Kieran McMillan said. “Tens of thousands of volunteers give up their evenings and weekends for our sport, and we want to give them back some time to enjoy the best parts of getting involved in their club.
“Technology will play an increasingly important role in community sport and we have an opportunity to be leading the charge. Through the support of quality partners, the community can expect more digital innovation and increased functionality over time. Whether that be live streaming, or club management tools, or even micro-chips in balls – the products and services you will be able to access on your phone or laptop will make it easier to run the game and more enjoyable to play the game.”
Basketball provided the first means for PlayHQ to test out its capabilities, and early suggestions prior to the onset of Covid-19 were that its systems enabled faster and easier management of clubs and competitions, based in particular on a pilot program involving around 20 country basketball associations.
The AFL then announced a deal with Play HQ in June. Its head of states and game development, Sam Graham, described the project’s goals at the time as: “It’s about getting the admin done more quickly and easily, so there’s time to focus on the footy.”
Speaking about the cricket deal, Walch offered similar words. “PlayHQ’s vision is to provide a world class solution for the administration of grassroots sport, and to make it easier for volunteers, participants, parents, coaches and umpires to engage with the games they love.”
Source: ESPN Crickinfo