Manchester City Football Club

case study details

Building a media-rich website with Sitecore

Manchester City Football Club had humble ambitions to be the best football club website on the web. The site needed to be content and media rich, up to date, informative for fans and enable transactions for both ticket purchases and an e-commerce shop. Sitecore’s CMS was integrated, and the result was an overwhelming success.

Challenge

MCFC is one of the UK’s highest profile Premier League clubs. The pressure to excel in delivery was not just down to PR - the site needed to support traffic volume surges, take high volumes of transactions, and be delivered to unchanging club-wide milestones. To add to the challenge, Sitecore Solution Partner Aqueduct needed to work with creative agency Poke to ensure their envelope-pushing designs could be implemented flawlessly. This was the biggest single development job Aqueduct had undertaken, and they had only 2.5 months from initial scoping to launch.

Goals for the new site included:

  • Ensure editors are able to maintain the website in near real time during games and key events.
  • Cope with huge bursts of traffic during transfer windows, high profile games and announcements.
  • Develop a website that allows the club to be agile with its online communications and continue to evolve its web strategy quickly.
  • Deliver an award-winning website which looks great, functions great, delivers revenues for the club and is a pleasure for the club editors to work with.
  • Move away from what is considered a traditional CMS-driven website and deliver a media and content-rich site that defies traditional expectations for templated websites.

Solution

Sitecore CMS was chosen for the new website platform. Its complete separation of content from presentation meant that the creative designs could be met without compromise, and the content could be surfaced throughout the site (such as Flash) and via third party systems (such as ecommerce).

Aqueduct took advantage of Sitecore’s flexibility to extend it in many ways:

  • Aqueduct built a real-time solution module which integrates into Sitecore CMS which allows journalists to provide real-time commentary and upload imagery to the site, which is in turn published in realtime via a Flash & AJAX interface.
  • Aqueduct built content feed modules for feeding live game data into the site.
  • Aqueduct integrated Brightcove to allow for seamless integration between their video streaming and distribution platform and Sitecore.
  • Aqueduct integrated IRIS for the ticketing systems, Metagy for the shop management and logistics, and YesPay for all transactions.
  • Aqueduct integrated LimeLight CDN to offload the bandwidth-heavy media serving requirements for the site.

Aqueduct delivered the entire site - encompassing 357 developer days, 109,227 lines of code, 18 weekly scrum cycles and continuous rigorous testing (at its peak, a whole month of testing was crammed into a 36 hour period) –  in about six months.  This is an impressive achievement given the number of third parties that had to be relied upon for integration.

Result

The new site looks great, feels intuitive, and the rich interface makes extensive use of AJAX. In addition, the site is media rich and it's all run from Sitecore CMS. Aqueduct delivered the entire site in about six months -- in what seemed an unachievable task at the time considering the number of third parties that were relied on for integration.

Manchester City reports overwhelming success with the new site—with 90,000 unique visits on launch day, more than 1,000 orders on the shop in 24 hours—equalling in excess of £50,000. Since then the numbers have continued to grow. In the first two weeks of going live there were more than 1.4 million unique visits and 9 million page views. After 100 days the number of unique visitors had risen to 3 million and included 45 million page views at an average of 5 pages per visit and 4 minutes’ browsing time on site.  The site has since launched in Arabic, and 2-3 other languages will be launched soon after with at least one more Unicode language set to be included.

Technical Description

Solution Special Ingredients

  • Brightcove for video management
  • IRIS for ticketing systems
  • Metagy for shop management and logistics
  • YesPay for ecommerce
  • LimeLight for CMD
  • Flash
  • Ajax

We are very pleased with the look and feel of the site which makes extensive use of a number of disparate content technologies that are integrated through Sitecore CMS.

Victoria Stansfield, digital delivery manager at Manchester City FC
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