Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Trying to Get Sport Online

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Trying to Get Sport Online

Article excerpt

Byline: John Hill

AFORMER professional rugby player is launching a service later this year that he hopes will make the process of organising and signing up for sport far easier for people in the region.

Oliver Randall squeezed a spell with Madrid-based side Alcobendas Rugby into a career which also included roles in sales and marketing and financial services, but he hopes his joint venture with Jonathan Riches will change the way people get involved in activities.

In May, he expects to launch two websites designed to increase participation.

The first - called - is a network which will allow students to link-up with external sports clubs by posting their details and the sport they'd like to get involved with online. The other is a paid service called Sports Agent UK, which will allow clubs to view interested potential team members, manage their squads, communicate with team members and create team lists for matches.s

Randall has been developing the concept for the best part of a decade, and says it can provide an invaluable service at a time that state funding to develop the digital infrastructure of sport is in short supply.

He said: "It's designed to be the next way to get involved in sport. The sports industry is huge, but it's very archaic. There's so much money at the top, but so little at the bottom.

"Nowadays if you want to get involved with a sport you have to look up local clubs on Google and get in touch with them. I'm quite outgoing, but even I find that a little off-putting. With this, you can go on the site, input your location and your sport requirements and when you're available, and everything else is done for you.

"If you went on the site and said you wanted to do pilates, all the clubs signed up would get an alert saying you wanted to do something in the area, and they could get in touch with you." Riches has made contact with schools around the area to talk in assemblies about the benefits the system can bring, but Randall says there are other ways the service can prove useful, such as "matching" people who might want a casual game of a sport such as tennis with other people in the area. …

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