Aussies offer site support to Kiwi sport

Australia is beating New Zealand at yet another game, but the Ockers are offering to help us out. The Hillary Commission is working on a sports portal to serve most of the nation's sports.

Australia is beating New Zealand at yet another game, but the Ockers are offering to help us out.

The Hillary Commission is working on a sports portal to serve most of the nation's sports.

Its trans-Tasman equivalent already has its own sportnet.com.au site and many sporting groups have their own Web sites.

To help us catch up and profit from e-business, Australian firms are offering to provide us sites for free.

The commission has spent six months doing groundwork for the project and last month advertised for development partners. About 50 organisations have applied and the commission is set to decide finalists this week.

It is spending $100,000 on investigating options, but nothing has been set aside for producing the site, set for launch early next year.

Hillary Commission information systems manager Carl Steward says after discussing the portal with sporting bodies, the commission plans the portal to connect vertically from the national body down to individual clubs that altogether claim 1.8 million members.

Both regional and national sporting bodies, plus individual club organisers, would be able to contact individual members.

Club leaders, for example, could use the system to inform members of game cancellations.

The system would also help with administration and accounts and "take the drudgery away" from organisation. Steward says a single huge portal will be better than individual sports doing their own thing and already people are enthusiastic about its expected benefits.

In seeking development partners, the commission says Australian Web site providers Isport.com.au and www.sportingglobe.com have offered to create sites at not cost in return for potential e-commerce benefits. Sportsnet.com.au is also offering support.

Those Web sites are not as complete as the Hillary Commission would like, but the organisations are still in the running.

"Most of the response we have had is from New Zealand organisations but the Australians seem to be ahead of us. They have a bigger market and have got their first," Steward says.

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