Digitising Athletics Federations
From this summer, we’ll be trying to keep our users updated more often with news, features, and best practices. Our first piece highlights recent work for some of our 11 federation clients.
OpenTrack launched by working with European Athletics to build a Federation Management System, starting with Estonia in early 2017. Our client list has now grown to over 10 federations, including UK home countries and some specialist federations such as British and European Masters (BMAF & EMA).
The benefits of digitising are many:
Saving large amounts of staff time for federations through automation
Helping generate revenue
Giving federations insight into participation and trends
Getting results from all parts of the sport in a country into one place
We keep improving this every year, in whatever direction people need. One big example went live in the UK.
Launch of bulk licencing with payment
As we go through the annual cycle of renewing memberships, which happens in April in the UK, we have sped up the process and made accepting payments easier and more transparent for Athletics Northern Ireland (ANI), who use OpenTrack as their sole provider.
Clubs now have the option of paying by card for bulk renewals, or generating an automatic invoice.
Athletes in Northern Ireland now also have an anti-doping disclaimer to sign before they can renew. UK Anti-Doping has asked all sports to get athletes, officials, and parents to do this, and thanks to OpenTrack, Athletics Northern Ireland has the most thorough means to track and enforce this.
Every athlete, or their parent, needs to sign up to accept the disclaimer. This means that ANI will have the option to communicate directly with all of their members in the future, as well as via clubs. This opens the door to many social media developments to make things more engaging for the athletes - uploading photos, linking from results to social media.
We now have a wide range of options for federations to manage annual licences, from a payment-free model where clubs request renewals from the federation, through to athletes paying surcharges or renewing individually as they enter races. The payments flow instantly to the federation’s own account, saving administrative and accounting time and helping generate revenue. Competitions managed in OpenTrack can then have entry limited to licenced athletes, or discounts can be offered for licenced athletes, ensuring compliance.
Helping federations generate revenue
The Cypriot national federation, KOEAS, has now started organising a Grand Prix series of competitions to directly generate much-needed revenue for the national federation.
We’re also now working with Estonia to automate competition invoicing. There, and in many other countries, it’s normal to invoice clubs after a competition instead of taking card payments on entry. This will be a big administrative cost saving. After each competition, organisers will click a button, and a PDF invoice will go to each club with payment instructions; we hope to be integrating with their accounting system, and will report on this further in a few months.
Not just national federations
Our system can benefit plenty of organisations in athletics that are not national governing bodies, from one-off open meetings to organised leagues. Good examples are the Surrey and Oxford Cross Country Leagues, the London Universities and Colleges Association and schools networks such as the Northern Tanzania Schools AA (links).
There’s a readymade workflow to get things up and running in under a month, saving time and adding clarity and transparency to everything.
Managing masters athletics - a complex challenge
As many of you appreciate, masters athletics has its own complexities and nuances. We’ve been working with the British Masters Athletics Federation for several years and handle all their needs from managing 9,000 athletes to putting on seamless competitions, which includes:
Eligibility validation when signing up to an area club
Helping club secretaries see at a glance who has provided all information needed to compete at a high level
A club management system supporting many different membership categories, so athletes can pay club subscriptions and clubs can save admin time
Specialised scoring and points systems as defined by World Masters Athletics
We now have a complete system to handle all of this, which can also be used by any club that needs a system to manage its membership and competitions.
Plans for the summer season
We will shortly be rolling out newer, friendlier seeding screens, with full support of any round structure, including multi-round championships, and call room screens.
We’re also working on integration with World Athletics’ new database and calendar on behalf of six countries
Federations will be able to submit a competition directly to their calendar from OpenTrack, instead of logging into a second system.
We’ve been notifying them of all results captured in our system for years, but this will now change slightly, as they have published a new format for submission of results.
We will be able to retrieve athletes’ PB, SB, and World Rankings positions as they enter competitions, to aid seeding, and show the public the athletes’ current form.
Beyond the summer - Road Race and Relay support
Looking beyond the summer, we’ve been improving how we handle non-stadium events. We now have a complete workflow for managing road relays, from entries to team declarations to results.
It’s easy for a road race organiser to download entries and send back results; this can even happen in real time at the finish. OpenTrack handles complex scoring and prize categories, and we’re happy to implement your historic scoring systems. This lets the chip timing companies focus on what they do best.
As you can see we’re making great strides to give you the all-round athletic competition service, as we all strive to grow the sport.
If there is anything we can help you with, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!