Following on from a successful visit last year to work alongside management at the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA, the off-court leaders at the Deakin Melbourne Boomers and JCU Townsville Fire will again embrace a fact-finding mission in Los Angeles and Phoenix this June, this time taking in eight sporting events in 10 nights.
Last July, Justin Nelson (Boomers) and Richard Goodbody (Fire) got to work behind the scenes and meet with management across a variety of operational, commercial and promotional departments when they visited Phoenix’s famed basketball set-up that caters for both the Suns and Mercury year-round, and now they want to advance those learnings and further develop the relationship between the WNBA and their own operations back here in Australia.
“The sheer size of the Phoenix Basketball organisation is impressive, but much of what they do day to day is very similar to what we encounter here in Australia, it’s just on a whole other scale,” said Nelson.
“The management team at Phoenix put on an impressive show, they focus very strongly and acutely on a strategy, and they deliver it professionally. The way in which they welcomed and included us last year was exceptional, they provided a great learning opportunity that we are looking forward to increasing when we return for another fortnight. Excitingly, this time we will also visit the LA Sparks (WNBA) and Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB).”
“My focus is on making every Boomers game an event that attracts families seeking entertainment and an opportunity to engage with the players, the league, fellow supporters and our partners. The Mercury do it better than anyone in the WNBA, so why not learn from the best? It will only help grow our sport and make our product better,” added Nelson.
Both Melbourne and Townsville recently enjoyed a successful season – the Boomers with large growth in supporters, members and sponsors, while the Fire rewarded their burgeoning supporter and partner base with a second successive title.
Both Nelson and Goodbody credit some of their respective success to a number of the little tips they picked up whilst in Phoenix last year.
“The scale of the Mercury’s operation including their fan engagement strategies is on a whole other level to the WNBL,” said Goodbody.
“With the full-time implementation of LED screens into Townsville RSL Stadium next season, we want to learn from the best to ensure that attending a Fire game goes above and beyond anything the WNBL has ever seen before.
“I am sure it will be another incredible experience,” added Goodbody.
The opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences isn’t lost on the Mercury either, with Vice President of Operations, Vince Kozar, labelling the ongoing relationship as rewarding.
“Hosting Justin and Richard last year was a great chance to share our processes with fresh eyes and new voices, they are both clearly at the forefront of their own industry in Australia,” said Kozar, adding, “In some moments we were the teachers, others we were the students, but most of all it was very rewarding to know that even separated my oceans and time-zones a lot of our challenges and areas for opportunities are the exact same.”
“Basketball is a global game and so too should our idea-sharing be, and we look forward to working with Justin and Richard again this June.”