Sport Design Australia Creative Spotlight: Luke Winzar - Collingwood FC

May 24, 2023
4 mins
Sport Design Australia Creative Spotlight: Luke Winzar - Collingwood FC

In a space where trends, followings and popularity are paramount, Luke Winzar's approach to life in the world of sports content is a breath of fresh air.

Instead of focusing on clout and competition, Collingwood Football Club’s Head of Digital is introspective and inviting. He strives to create original and engaging content like any other creative but is committed to doing so with poise and positivity.

Luke, or 'Wiz' as he is better known, is welcoming of 'rival' creatives and clubs, with a view it can only better the wider creative community.

“Everyone in clubland does such great work in the AFL,” he says.

“What is most exciting is the level of quality in content being produced at the moment. We pride ourselves on doing great work at Collingwood, or at least trying to, and now so many clubs are pushing us to do better.

“Which means as a community we’re improving, and that’s super exciting.”

Any sports creative, particularly those working for clubs, will understand how easy it is to fall into the trap of comparing oneself to other teams and creators.

Sport is tribal, and this seeps off the field into the social media space. Whether it be looking over your shoulder at the teams chasing you or aiming to emulate the success of industry leaders, #smports can be unhealthily competitive.

For Luke, it is not about what other clubs or creators are doing, but instead looking inwards.

“It’s not a competition,” he says.

“I probably fell into this trap during the first year of my life in the sports world... that we had to be the best and the other clubs were poor. But I hated that mindset, we only compete on the scoreboard.

“I’d say to newbies coming into the industry, it isn’t a competition, not everyone is playing with the same tools or resources as you. Do what makes you proud of your work, ask questions and keep improving. Anyone that ever has questions for me, I’m always here to share.”

Luke’s low-key ethos extends into his relationship with the Pies’ players and football staff, too.

While rubbing shoulders with elite athletes at one of Australia’s biggest sports clubs can be seen as a glamorous life, he is not using it to his advantage. Luke is far more scaled back, an approach that has helped him build rapport and contributed to greater content outputs.

“It’s not all ‘Scott Pendlebury is my best mate’ or ‘here’s some insider info’,” he says.

“I always use ‘Pendles’ as an example. How many people must try to ‘become his best friend’ every day when he’s out in public or at the football? So trust that when you work with him, and if you’re professional about it, he will be too. If you strike up a relationship, good for you, friends are always good."

“I’ve always tried to be myself with the players and not put them on a pedestal. That, for me at least, has led to many relationships that I treasure.”

As humble as he is, Luke’s ambition and achievements with Collingwood cannot be understated. The Pies have the greatest Instagram following of any AFL - Australian Football League club with 320,000; well clear of their closest rival.

Collingwood aspires to have “the most engaged audience in world sport”, a lofty goal given Aussie rules is scarcely played outside of the country. But through a clever content strategy, the Magpies have become a benchmark for sports clubs around the world.

“We want to feel like all our platforms are town halls for our fans to communicate and share their love for the Pies,” he says.

“We want to bring them along for the journey and allow them to have their say, so having all our KPIs built around engagement is how we measure success. We nurture that through encouraging discussion in captions and content, replying to or discussing things with our fans, or getting our players to buy in and share content.”

A driving force behind Collingwood’s content is its individuality.

Australian creatives tend to turn to American and European sports clubs for inspiration, but barriers and tight restrictions such as match vision rights prevent AFL and NRL clubs from creating in-game video content (sigh). This inspires Luke to think outside the box, inspiring content such as this fan-filmed celebration piece.

“A lot of the things we see are created in environments not like our own, or pieces of content we can’t capture,” he says.

“So we try to refrain from building our strategy around the content of others, but instead what the strengths of our environment present to us are. From there, any bespoke content that we see elsewhere that we love, we might try to add in.”

No alt text provided for this image

Collingwood's Game Posters over the last 12 months have been elite.

Ever the optimist, Luke advised budding creatives to keep plugging away at their passion in the pursuit of a successful #smsport career.

“Love and be obsessed with the process of creating something,” Luke says.

“Anyone that has ever done anything good or worthwhile has done it for themselves first. Social media can be tricky because you can get into the habit of chasing likes, but it’s important to love the process of creating things first, so long term you can keep improving and perfecting what you do.

“If you love creating, once you’ve become good enough at that you can delve into the dark art of engaging your fans.”

Share this post
Share this post
Your weekly download of sports content and creative.

Become a Game Changer

Subscribe to our 'Game Changer' newsletter and receive an oasis of industry insights and invaluable resources designed to keep you not just relevant, but ahead of the curve.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.