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Bupa mines Australian cricketer health data to boost performance in sponsorship collaboration

Bupa has been helping Cricket Australia keep its top players fit by analysing their health data to show when they are more likely to get injured, in an extension of its sponsorship with the sporting body.

Adrian Baillargeon, national sponsorship manager for the health brand, told an audience at the Mumbrella Sports Marketing Summit last week the brand had deployed a team of its data scientists to develop a system to help the code manage player workload.

Adrian Baillargeon:

Adrian Baillargeon: “It’s not so much a sponsorship, it’s a collaborative piece on data”

During the interview Baillargeon said he liked to drive deeper engagement with clubs and teams they sponsor by utilising Bupa assets to provide services. He gave the example of eye tests and mouth guards for the Brisbane Lions and Hawthorn Football Clubs, which it provides through its health providers.

Asked by interviewer and Havas Sport & Entertainment boss Francis Coady how it extended to data, Baillargeon replied: “One of the things Cricket Australia’s high performance team does really well is collect data – they have more than 270 players, men and women, who everyday are entering into their athlete management system how much they’ve trained, some wellness questions, how well did they sleep, etc.

“They collect a lot of data and they’ve been doing this for eight years, and one of the things they said was ‘we are very good at collecting data, but we struggle to make that data meaningful so it impacts the performance of our players’.

“So what we did is we hooked up Cricket Australia with our Bupa health analytics team, and in the past 12 months we’ve made some really big headway.

“One of the things we’ve been able to determine is when it comes to these wellness scores you rank yourself between one and five as a player on these questions. But for three days in a row if you score a three or less we’ve been able to link that to a higher risk of injury. And vice versa: if you score three or higher for three days in a row your risk of injury drops significantly.

“What that’s transformed into now is if a player gets that score of three or below an alert goes out to the high performance team and the coaches and it triggers for them to have that conversation with the player and potentially alter their training program.

“That’s an example of where we’ve got that capability and found a way to use it. Now it’s not so much a sponsorship, it’s a collaborative piece on data.”

Francis Coady (l) and Adrian Baillargeon

Francis Coady (l) and Adrian Baillargeon: “Now it’s not so much a sponsorship, it’s a collaborative piece on data”

Baillargeon urged other marketers to look into their own businesses to see what services they could provide to their sponsor partners to strengthen the partnership.

“Have a look internally and look at the strengths you’ve got internally,” he added. “Just start to ask a few questions and I think you’d be amazed at the kind of difference you can make. All of a sudden you have the perfect Venn diagram, but it all starts with asking that question.”

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