Re-inventing the Football Club Digital Platform
Premier League club Southampton FC are a very progressive club on the rise domestically and internationally. With their first team establishing themselves as a top 6 PL club and achieving European football, they wanted a digital brand platform to capitalise on this success. Saints’ ambition was to ‘Change the Game’ when it comes to digital fan engagement and Delete were set the challenge to re-define how a club can engage fans through the creation of an innovative new platform.Visit site
To create a market leading digital football platform that redefines the fan’s experience of a football club website, whilst generating new commercial opportunities for the business.
Our customer experience strategy centres around the content consumption patterns of typical football fans. Our biggest insight was that they are ‘content grazing’ – that is throughout a day they are returning to favoured sources for updates on new and developing stories about their team. This insight drove our our digital broadcaster strategy. Our platform needed to deliver the best digital experience for a Saints fan bar none.
As a commercially run operation the club needed the platform to support the wider business objectives including:
Promotion of ticket and hospitality products
Promotion of club merchandise
The creation of a digital advertising channel to support club partners and sponsors
Growth of customer database
A brand experience fit for an ever growing international audience
In order to break the mould of the traditional overly cluttered football club website we had to completely re-think the product architecture and content taxonomy.
The entire experience needed to be focused on the most important factor - the football matches and the cycle of the team. The match represents the central pillar for all content publishing, site navigation and content aggregation.
The new platform is a communication hub for all things Saints, where fans can experience high quality, high frequency content. From editorial, video, and social the site aggregates the best Saints content, 24/7, every day of the week.
Why would a fan need to go anywhere else?
Saints Live delivers a stream of continuous updates through a dynamic live feed wall combining editorial, features, gallery, video and social posts in a single view.
Fans can browse through posts and seamlessly move through a linear or nonlinear editorial flow built to encourage continuous content discovery.
Player profiles provide a dynamic landing page for every player powered by OPTA performance data. The profile aggregates all news relating to the player combined with season stats, photo galleries and social feeds.
The Match Centre is the central hub for all content related to each match including news posts, ticket and hospitality information and full match info. Matches automatically transition from pre match to post match mode - providing match reports and video highlights after the final whistle.
Fans can tune into every first team match through the Matchday Live experience for minute by minute updates, live audio commentary and team and player performance stats. The live timeline combines commentary, stats, live scores, video and social posts - pre, during and post match making it the go-to destination on matchday and unique second screen option for televised games.
The site provides live match video streaming for all U23 matches and first team press conferences using HLS streaming technology. A custom matchday audio player delivers audio commentary for all first team matches.
A key part of the club’s identity centres around its academy and the development of elite players. The site treats the academy teams, players and matches with equal importance to that of the first team ensuring this part of the club is treated with the respect and promotion it deserves.
A Digital Membership scheme encourages fans to register for exclusive video content and live audio streaming. Members are then stored in central CRM with personalised features used to enhance experience and tailor promotions on site and off.
Sitecore was selected as the technology best suited to deliver on the vision of providing fans with the optimum cross channel experience.
We needed a solution that enabled us to establish a single view of a customer across the main site, store and ticketing platform through a single login. The technology also allows content, advertising and promotions to be personalised based on stored user data and preferences.
As part of the project we integrated Sitecore with a number of third party platforms including their SQL data warehouse; Third Light - their digital asset management platform; Ooyala - their video provider; Opta sports data feeds; BBC audio commentary; and the club's social networks.
The matchday live publisher is a custom created product for the Saints Broadcast team to manage the matchday experience. The tool enables speedy publishing of multimedia content pre, during and post match to ensure the experience is truly 'live'
Since the launch the new site has received widespread praise from the club's fans and the digital industry.
"Our partnership with Delete has enabled us to realise our ambitions for offering a best in class digital experience to our fans. Delete’s passion for understanding both our brand and business objectives at a commercial level made them the perfect partner for this project."
Head of Marketing, Southampton FC
Re-inventing the Football Club Digital Platform