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In a league of our own

English Football League (EFL)

EFL - The English Football League

The kick off

  • Category: Sports Mobile and Web Development

You’ve heard of the The English Football League (EFL), right? It was the first ever competition in a sport that has since taken over the world. And it’s still the biggest in Europe with 72 members, 3 leagues and domestic rights of over £600 million. The EFL has embraced the digital age and every club now has its own website offering fans news, information and live matches. However, this shared digital platform was getting creaky: user unfriendly, difficult to update and straining to cope with the functions we’ve come to expect from a modern web site. EFL Digital, responsible for managing all this, needed a game changer.

1 Platform
69 clubs
9 months

Getting in the game

175 of the world’s best agencies went into the hat to win the prize of becoming The EFL’s long-term digital design and development partner. After a tough tournament, Kin + Carta Connect raised the trophy for a seven year deal. We made some big promises to our new team mates:

  • Deliver the best possible fan experience
  • Make the most of commercial opportunities
  • Create a platform that wouldn’t break down easily and was able to evolve
  • Make it easy for clubs to publish content
  • Provide high quality support
EFL Mobile screenshot 1 EFL Mobile screenshot 2

The impossible job

Delivering 65 stable and effective websites in just 9 months is no walk in the park. But it is easier when you adopt an agile delivery methodology and focus on building what matters to the EFL, its clubs and fans.

All three of our audiences were looking for different things. Fans wanted to go to sites every day looking for news on their favourite team. Clubs wanted a unique website and the ability to publish what they wanted, when they wanted. The EFL needed a digital platform that could cope with anything the future could throw at it and provide an income stream for clubs and partners.

A flying start

We spent six weeks immersing ourselves in the EFL, the clubs and their fans. The target was a ‘Minimum Loveable product’ that gave all the clubs a brilliant place to start. A platform we could then enhance over the next seven years.

We made sure the design framework was flexible enough so each club could make it their own. An initial club ‘base’ template was provided with equally flexible components. A Live Match Centre was also created for those not able to attend games. It was brought alive with data, a club curated blog and social integration.

EFL desktop view

Making money

Sports sites in the UK, especially football, have tended to use a hit and hope approach to advertising. We provided something more likely to reach the back of the net. An elegant solution for sponsors and partners was created that integrated advertising into the sites, increasing engagement and providing a less jarring experience to users.

New revenue streams were developed through a subscription model that gave access to NeuLion: this offered live streaming for international fans and radio commentary for UK fans. It could be paid for on a game, monthly or season long basis.

Final scores

In just nine months we managed to turn things around for the EFL. It was a massive job involving 66 different visual themes, 1,000,000 content items, news stories and assets with 6 Episerver DXC Environments and 12 Multi-site instances per environment. The result is a platform that now hosts 80% of all UK football websites and offers so much more:

7% decrease in bounce rate
80% of all UK football sites managed by the platform
75% of traffic now through mobile

When the EFL went out to market for a new digital agency, one of the key goals was to find someone that understood the nuances of our member clubs. From day one, Kin + Carta did just that. They have showcased their expertise and flexibility to produce an excellent experience for both club staff and fans. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

Ross Jeavons - Head of Audience and Content, EFL

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