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RFL’s Our League named as a finalist at the Sports Business Awards

Our League, the Rugby Football League’s membership scheme for fans, players, coaches, volunteers and viewers, has earned the game further national recognition with a nomination in a second major sports awards ceremony this spring.

Our League is in the running for a Sports Business Award on May 31 in the Best Fan Engagement Programme category. This is the second award nomination of the awards season, having already been included on the shortlist for Best Fan / Community Engagement for the BT Sports Industry Awards on April 25. This second nomination comes after Our League recently celebrated breaking through the 100,000 members milestone, showing just how much Rugby League means to the fans.

Mark Foster, the RFL’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “It’s great to have this recognition for the sport, and also for the people who have worked so hard to establish and develop Our League since it was launched in late 2017.“It was the first Rugby League OTT platform, allowing more matches and features to be broadcast and watched than ever before – and a pivotal part of our strategy for ensuring that Rugby League is well-placed to capitalise on the opportunities provided by the digital revolution.”

Launched in Autumn 2017 in partnership with InCrowd, the membership scheme has improved fan experience and engagement for lovers of Rugby League at all levels of the game, offering exclusive content, predictor games, ticket offers, money can’t buy benefits and prizes via the digital platforms – app (iOS & Android) and website that members can access. This season Rugby League personalities such as Andrew Henderson and Jamie Jones-Buchanan have led extensive coverage of the Betfred Championship and League One competitions, focusing on the best tries and matches through the week – as well as providing live and exclusive coverage every weekend.

This weekend (30th March) focus turns to the Coral Challenge Cup, with the Our League cameras focusing on the famous St Helens amateur club Thatto Heath, and their attempt to spring an upset against North Wales Crusaders. That will be followed by a blockbuster opening fixture from the fast-growing Women’s Super League on April 7, as Wigan Warriors launch their defence of the title against fierce local rivals St Helens.

Darren Parsons, Marketing Account Manager at InCrowd said, “Recently smashing the 100K member mark, Our League continues to be a great project to work on in close collaboration with the Rugby Football League. It’s been amazing to see fans from all corners of the Rugby League community come together and find something to engage with on the platform; it’s fast becoming an absolute must-have, for every fan.”

Download the Our League app on Apple iOS and Android or visit rugby-league.com to sign up for FREE!

InCrowd and the RFL take fan engagement to the next level with interactive video polls

InCrowd’s introduction of video polls, powered by FanScore, has driven engagement levels up for the Rugby Football League’s successful membership platform, OurLeague, enabling the RFL to further develop direct relationships and continue to create unique experiences, for every fan.

Polls have been a popular part of the OurLeague platform since March 2018, with the effective and widely participated Man Of The Match vote now broadcast, updated and announced live for various fixtures throughout the season. This new introduction of video polls takes the fan experience to the next level, giving fans the power to make personal choices based on real life game situations and referee decisions. A strategic system of app notifications, social updates and email communications ensure no fan misses the opportunity to cast their vote and have their say.

Perhaps most importantly, fans participating in the video polls are encouraged to do so behind an official FanScoreID from InCrowd, as opposed to a social login to verify and log their selections. Social may drive higher numbers but these are all anonymous to the rights holder. With this FanScore authentication, the RFL are able to learn more about their fans and can therefore serve them with relevant, personal content and activations based on past engagements.

“The live Man of The Match poll has generated incredible engagement numbers and we’re really pleased to be able to add yet another dimension to the fan experience for OurLeague members, whilst continuing to learn more about rugby league fans. The development of the video polls is an exciting prospect for us; we’re looking forward to working on new ideas with the InCrowd team.” – Nichola Spencer, Membership Manager, Rugby Football League.

The Try or No Try video poll went live in August, with Lewis Tierney’s 2016 try against Warrington during the Super 8s as the first video poll to take place. The poll received 1,438 votes over six days with a split decision of 51% Try to 49% No Try, giving a perfect edge-of-your-seat start to the video poll’s integration. The poll itself is a collaboration between the RFL and Patient Claim Line, who already sponsor the big screen video decisions in live Sky Sports games. The poll also ties in brilliantly with their tagline “know for sure” and their key message of “checking all the evidence before making a crucial decision”, making this video poll not only an exciting interactive feature for fans, but an effective and seamless activation for the RFL’s partner.

“The Try or No Try video poll is a perfect activation opportunity for us; the nature of the poll compliments our brand messaging and its really exciting to see such a close call on the first poll plus really encouraging participation numbers from the get-go.” – Alex Kenny, Marketing Director, Patient Claim Line

InCrowd are excited about the successful introduction and future of video polls as a key feature of the fan experience, for the RFL audience and across the sports industry.

Visit the Our League website here

Download the iOS app

Download the Android app

 

Rugby League – A Sport Like No Other.

In my 10 years working in the sports industry I have been lucky enough to work on a variety of sports including football, motorsport, rugby union, tennis and cricket. One sport that had evaded me until last year was rugby league, a sport that I only had a passing knowledge of. Since June ’17 I have immersed myself in all things rugby league through InCrowd’s relationship with the Rugby Football League (RFL). I’ve attended the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup Final, Betfred Super League Grand Final, visited most of the grounds in the Super League and met some great people along the way.

To say this sport has been a breath of fresh air to me would be an understatement. Rugby League can boast an enviably diverse fan base, competitiveness & entertainment, passion & pride and down to earth, approachable players invested in growing their sport.

So what makes rugby league so special, and how are we working with the RFL to engage their already voracious and loyal fans? Let me tell you about my most recent experiences with the sport….

Membership

I project managed InCrowd’s development of the RFL’s free membership platform and app, named Our League. The platform that encapsulates all things Rugby League, launched on the 16th October 2017. Our League evolved quickly providing a second screen experience during the Rugby League World Cup 2017 with exclusive live streaming and behind the scenes footage. It also produced over 1,000 winners via the “predict & win” competition including tickets, signed shirts and a trip to Australia to watch the World Cup final between England and Australia.

Since then, the benefits have extended to loyalty schemes, ticket discounts, more exclusive content and a recently created a player dashboard for players to see their stats and compared themselves with others in their league. The successful predict and win competition has extended in to the Betfred Super League season with nearly 14,000 players to date, while Our League members have control of the Betfred Man of the Match vote as presented during live Sky Sports broadcasts. Development is also underway to extend the match centre to include community leagues and there is far more to come in the near future to engage all corners of the Rugby League audience.

Season Launch

In January this year, I was lucky enough to attend the RFL season launch. Our League, and its importance in growing the sport between now and the UK hosted 2021 Rugby League World Cup featured in Interim CEO Ralph Rimmer’s keynote speech. Super League representatives from all clubs were in attendance. Players and coaches from all clubs were in attendance including 2017 Man of Steel Luke Gale, England World Cup star Jermaine McGillvary and Harry Sunderland Trophy winning Danny McGuire. After photos and press interviews the players took part in sponsor led challenges whilst coaches were quizzed on their hopes and expectations for the coming season.

I got the chance to speak to some of the World Cup predictor winners; Rob, James  and Antony. They told me that they had played for fun and love of the game. They were extremely surprised to hear that their engagement in the predictor had culminated in such an amazing prize. That prize was 2 premium tickets to every major event this year including the England vs New Zealand series. The guys also recalled several pieces of content and polls that were published during the World Cup and spoke highly of the app’s user experience.

Antony said “my wife didn’t believe I had won and thought it was a scam. It’s a good job I didn’t win trip to Brisbane. I’d have had to choose between my wife and son!”

James took to Twitter to post the following:

 The Future of Rugby League

I feel that one of the biggest challenges facing rugby league in the UK is the lack of awareness and engagement in the south. Rugby union dominates there and the annual Challenge Cup Final provides only a glimpse of what this sport has to offer. I took my 10-year-old nephew to the Challenge Cup Final, teaching him the rules on the journey and he thoroughly enjoyed the whole occasion. However, without my involvement he would not have known that this event, or maybe even the sport even existed.

The road ahead is challenging but I think that rugby league is on the cusp of grabbing more attention from media and commercial partners. This will be rewarding to see for the players and fans of this entertaining and inclusive sport and I am excited to join the RFL on this journey. 2018 is already shaping up to be an incredible season with entertaining matches and some unexpected results already. I’m very much looking forward to the remainder of the season complete with drama, passion and an ever growing audience.

To get involved in the action, you can download the Our League app now:

Google Play:  https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.incrowdsports.rugby.rfl

App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/ourleague/id1292250629?ls=1&mt=8

OurLeague Website: https://membership.rugby-league.com

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