The champion of tournaments
London tech firm’s app manages sports events to keep them running smoothly.
A hockey dad’s frustration can be a powerful thing. Just ask Jason Parker, president of a London tech company. Parker was gobsmacked at the counter of a Dearborn, Mich., hotel when he arrived with his son’s atom team for a hockey tournament. Their original reservation had been lost, but he was offered a room at a lower price. The catch was if he took the lower price, the team would be kicked out of the tournament. It was the moment that inspired building a better mousetrap — and the launch of RoomRoster, a tournament and event management system. Parker said RoomRoster software helps tournament directors with several organizational challenges from team registration to accommodation management, game results and communication. “RoomRoster provides a robust communication platform for organizers to easily communicate by SMS text or email to all participants or select teams and team members right from their dashboard,” Parker said. For example, if a tournament is running late, teams can be notified before they leave their hotels so families can relax instead of waiting at the arena. Participants can download an app that solves common problems with participating in out-of-town sports tournaments, from schedules to driving directions and hotel confirmations. “All organizers want to provide a tournament app, but they have been challenged with the cost and constant updating of it so it has accurate information,” Parker said. “The RoomRoster system auto-generates a personal tournament app for each participant, inclusive of integrated game schedule, driving directions, hotel confirmations, communication and alerts from the tournament director as well as valuable offerings from tournament sponsors.” Parker launched RoomRoster in October 2013. The first event was a major youth hockey tournament in Minneapolis. By January 2015, a full sales team was in place. This year, RoomRoster will be used in 2,000 youth and adult tournaments across North and adult tournaments across North America in team sports, such as hockey, soccer and baseball, as well as BMX racing and gymnastics.
“Eighty per cent of our business is in the U.S.,” Parker said. Part of the reason for that is sports tournaments in the United States are often organized by private companies which see the RoomRoster advantages from a business viewpoint and can make a quick decision. In Canada, tournaments are organized by committee-based volunteers who might be more reluctant to move forward with new tournament systems.
“There is no limit to the size of the event that the Room Roster system can effectively manage and we have noticed it is very popular with some of the larger organizations that run a number of tournaments throughout any given season,” Parker said. “We do like to see a minimum of 10 travel teams per event.
“We have a number of organizers that use our system in and around London, primarily hockey and soccer events. There is no fee to the organizer for our system and support as the hotels help to subsidize that cost.”
RoomRoster’s future includes expansion into “any event that combines accommodation and event,” such as trade shows.
The company employs 49 people. Parker, a London native and graduate of Catholic Central High School, moved to Atlanta to start a sports travel, ticketing and hospitality company more than 20 years ago. The company worked 18 Super Bowls, NCAA championships and the Olympics. That company was sold in 2013. That same year, RoomRoster started working with another London tech company, Arcane, to develop a tournament management prototype.
“Now, we have successfully built a system that is used by hundreds of organizers and thousands of tournaments annually across North America,” Parker said. “We are very fortunate to have built an amazing team of young, talented and smart Londoners whose dedication continues to push the envelope in order to develop the very best tournament management system.” Arcane, a digital marketing company, and RoomRoster share the same building at 304 Talbot St. They also share akey person, John D’Orsay.
A Torontonian who moved to London to attend Fanshawe College, D’Orsay co-founded Arcane in 2011 and is also RoomRoster’s chief technology officer.