A render of Sportsplus Clubhouse Canterbury

Canterbury League Club is currently constructing a new venue within the club that will host six different sport simulators for a competitive social experience for its broader community.

The club has partnered with new company Sportsplus, which is bringing sports simulators to club venues, following the trend of competitive social experiences that are popular in the UK. The new venue – Sportsplus Clubhouse Canterbury – will have lanes that simulate six different sports on to projectors: cricket, golf, tennis, baseball, lacrosse, and darts. Participants will be able to virtually practice their golf swing, tennis serve, try for a home run against their friends and more.

For Canterbury League Club, this new venue helps the club broaden its business.

“Our market is typically a little bit older, a little bit more conservative. We didn’t have a lot of offerings that really pitch towards that 20-40 year-old market. And so this was an opportunity to pitch a little bit to that space,” explained Greg Bygraves, general manager – sales and marketing for Canterbury League Club.

While the western Sydney club has an established membership of 61,000 people, and hosts over one million visits per year, the club is looking to attract different demographics in the vicinity that wouldn’t usually consider its offer.

“We will have some of our existing market that will be into this business, but I suspect there’s a lot of new customers that will come into this. And so for us, it really adds to what we’ve got. It’s not cannibalising from anywhere else. It’s a completely new style of product,” stated Bygraves.

“We’ve got a really broad demographic, particularly multiculturally around here at Canterbury. We we’ve got a big Korean community, and we know golf is very popular amongst that community. We’ve also got the largest Bangladeshi community right on our doorstep here at Lakemba, which is cricket mad, plus an emerging Indian market area. There’s just lots of opportunities to sort of tap into those communities and particularly markets that might not otherwise be utilising the club.”

Bygraves describes the partnership between Canterbury League Club and Sportsplus a similar to a joint venture, with Sportsplus operating the bar under licence with its own staff, while guests can order food from any part of the club.

Cricket will be one of six sports that can be played virtually through the Sportsplus simulators.

A competitive social experience

Sportsplus Clubhouse Canterbury will utilise 700sqm of space which has sat unused since the club underwent a major renovation in 2016-2017. It will run several simulator lanes with scoreboards, as well screens throughout broadcasting professional sporting fixtures and a lounge area. It’s estimated that at any one time 40-50 people could be actively participating in the simulator lanes, and that the Clubhouse space would have the capacity for about 100 people.

Besides competing among your own social group in-venue, Bygraves hopes that in time, this could lead to inter-club competitions – something that has almost completely vanished from clubs in the last few decades.

“I think there’s an opportunity, if you’ve got multiple venues operating around Sydney or even New South Wales, for instance, to be able to compete inter-venue.

“There’s some exciting stuff in world sports happening over the next 12 months where established sports are starting to dabble and move into this virtual space. So I think it’s pretty good for us to be part of something which is emerging. I’m excited by the potential of having some other big clubs around Sydney with the same technology, I just think it opens up lots of opportunities.”

The Clubhouse will also sit opposite Canterbury League Club’s new sophisticated cocktail bar, Bartega. While the two venues serve differen experiences, the hope is that the two offers will complement each other in broadening the club’s appeal.

“Both of these businesses will target the same sort of age group. And while people will be here for a different style of visit for each venue, it creates a good opportunity to showcase one or the other,” explains Bygraves.

“We’re also in the process of building a 500-seat auditorium and showroom on the same floor in this location. So by early next year, we will have taken an area that was not really activated and have potentially up to 700 people in that space on a weekend, which is exciting as well. So it’s all about fully activating the space and bringing in more and different people into the venue.”

Sportsplus Clubhouse Canterbury is slated to open in late November.

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