Special Olympics Australia Showcase Leading Sport Tech for People With Intellectual Disability

by Sep 18, 2022Elite Sport, News

For an organisation founded by the dynasty of the Kennedy/Shriver families in the United States, you might think Special Olympics was a more easily recognised brand in Australia. Add to that the fact that only three organisations globally have permission to use the word ‘Olympics’ in their name and it paints a picture that perhaps those both in and out of sport should be more aware of the Special Olympics Australia brand.

Sport Tech World Series Conference – Brisbane 2022

Sports technology however will be the driver of changing this narrative according to Special Olympics Australia Chief Executive Officer Pierre Comis. Comis was part of the CEOs in Sport – Which Technology Levers to Pull and When panel at the recent Sports Tech World Series event held in Brisbane.

As part of the panel, Comis sat alongside Gold Coast SUNS CEO Mark Evans and Swimming Australia’s Jess Corones as they shared how sports technology was shaping the future of their respective sports.

CEOs in Sport tech Panel
(Left) Jon Shepherd, Mark Evans, Pierre Comis, Jess Corones, Lachlan Wells (MC) and Damian Hecker (Right)

For Comis, the long-standing partnership with Playbk Sports and their recently rebranded sport tech ecosystem Inclusive Sport Academy, will be at the forefront of building greater brand awareness and enhancing athlete outcomes into the future.

“Everything we do at Special Olympics Australia has the athlete at the core. If it isn’t going to benefit the athlete, we must ask ourselves if it is something we should be doing. The Inclusive Sport Academy is geared around educating our vast audience (from coaches and teachers to volunteers and allied health professionals) to enhance the athlete experience. So, for us, it’s an easy strategic decision to invest in sports tech as we build further brand awareness and welcome more athletes to our movement.”

Pierre Comis, CEO at Special Olympics Austalia

Originally launched as SOA Learn back in 2018, the portal has reached over 6500 registered users with average time on platform hovering around 20 minutes for every single log in. It is this sort of data that Comis is excited about exploring further into the future.

“The data tells us the content is world class and this is backed up with our course satisfaction rating which is consistently over 90%. Our next phase of growth centres around the commercialisation of the portal and having this sort of data allows us to report back on these significant outcomes to our corporate sponsors and tell a compelling marketing story. All of this leads to further growth, more resourcing and enhanced athlete outcomes.”

Pierre Comis, CEO at Special Olympics Australia

Playbk Sports Co-founder Damian Hecker has worked closely with the organisation since the launch of SOA Learn back in 2018. He shared his pride in hearing Comis share the journey on stage at the Sport Tech World Series event.

“I’ve been privileged to share the ride with many of Special Olympics Australia’s staff from Inclusive Sport Academy being a concept to one of the most trusted sport tech ecosystems in Australian sport. Special Olympics Australia continues to find ways to invest in developing new products and resources and I think this is at the heart of their success. They don’t sit still for too long and they are always looking for opportunities to add value for their audiences and in doing so, enhance athlete outcomes.”

Damian Hecker, Co-founder at Playbk Sports

As Inclusive Sport Academy grows into the future Comis reflected on the opportunity to build a horizontal pathway of learning so coaches could build a skills base centred on the participant they coach, as opposed to more traditional structures of progressing through certified levels. He wants everyone within the Inclusive Sport Academy community to be able to access personalised content as easily as possible and these technology enhancements are high on the agenda going into the future.

Special Olympics Australia is an emergent star in the sports tech sector and have shown in four short years the power of developing cutting-edge learning content and harnessing a sport tech ecosystem that provides more than just traditional courses. The results speak for themselves and as Comis noted, this is just the beginning as Inclusive Sport Academy caters to more learners and opens opportunities for more athletes with intellectual disabilities and autism to find a safe place in organised sport and physical activity.

As part of the follow up from the CEOs in Sport Conference, Playbk Sports will be holding a free Fan Avidity and Monetisation strategy session on October 4 for interested organisations.

Please contact [email protected] to reserve your spot now

For media enquiries, images, videos, or interviews contact Jon Shepherd via Playbk Sports Contact Us page.


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