Creating websites, apps and a new cricket league
Campaign: KFC T20 Big Bash League websites and app
Client: Cricket Australia
After a hotly-contested pitch, Reactive won the digital account for Cricket Australia’s new KFC T20 Big Bash League in 2011. The initial project involved creating the league website and eight team sites all on a single Sitecore content management system (CMS) implementation. The nine sites have since clocked up jaw-dropping numbers, with site traffic exceeding expectations.
Since the launch in July 2011, more than eight million page views have been recorded across the league and team sites, with the average fan spending six minutes per visit on the Big Bash League website during the season.
After seeing significant growth in site traffic and interest after the launch of the new league, in December 2011 Cricket Australia and Reactive followed up with the launch of Android and iPhone apps for the KFC T20 Big Bash League, implemented in order to make it as easy as possible for fans to stay connected with their favourite team.
The challenges facing Reactive and the KFC T20 Big Bash League project included:
- launching the digital presence for a new cricket league and eight new teams by providing the digital interpretation of the brands initially developed by FutureBrand,
- introducing and increasing fan engagement with the Big Bash League, its teams and players, six months prior to a ball being bowled,
- creating rivalry between the teams to have fans declaring their allegiances and joining in the rivalry
- working in a multi-vendor environment with concurrent delivery on the same Sitecore platform – Cricket Australia was also in the process of delivering cricket. com.au and state websites onto the Sitecore platform, and
- engaging users of the mobile apps with an exemplary content experience enabling visitors to connect with the new league via the convenience of their phone.
Cricket Australia selected Sitecore for its focus on usability that allows casual users to easily manage websites, its multi-site management provides support and content sharing across many sites, and its sport and entertainment credentials – Sitecore is used by a number of high profile sports team: the US National Football League (Atlanta Falcons), English Premier League (Manchester City) and the US National Basketball Association (lebronjames.com).
To overcome low levels of initial familiarity, the idea was to create an energetic and cohesive program across all nine websites, leveraging opportunities afforded by digital media to reach the youth-oriented target market.
With the KFC T20 Big Bash League heralding a new era in cricket, the Android and iPhone apps provide more ways for fans to engage with T20 cricket.
The mobile apps provide immediate coverage of the KFC T20 Big Bash League anywhere, anytime. From live scores to match alerts, fans have immediate access to the action while they’re on the go. The Android and iPhone apps feature:
- live scores and player stats,
- video and match highlights in high definition,
- match alerts, so fans never miss a game,
- ability for fans to customise the app in their team colours and get the latest team news and results,
- live match tweets from their team, and
- behind-the-scenes video, player interviews, match highlights and more.
Following a stringent information architecture process that clearly defined the overall structure, content and hierarchy for each site, Reactive worked closely with Cricket Australia on the visuals for the sites, customising each design according to the appropriate team/league branding produced by FutureBrand.
Building the Big Bash League sites with Sitecore CMS, Reactive had to strike a balance between keeping all nine sites technically consistent yet visually distinct. Templates were developed in HTML and CSS, and included flexibility for customisation and future enhancements.
With fan engagement as a key objective, the KFC T20 Big Bash League site includes features such as a live countdown, hype videos to generate anticipation for the start of the competition and rich media content, encouraging fans to pick their teams.
Extensive social integration such as the Facebook Like Ladder and Fan Voice page create a sense of tribalism, as fans are urged to join in and declare their allegiances, making them part of this exciting milestone in Australian sporting history.
Reactive was able to tap into local and global Sitecore resources that provided them with both feedback and advice on best practice implementation of the solution. This resulted in nine visually distinctive websites that are all part of one cohesive platform.
- Sitecore CMS
- Cadability/Infoplum – to show game scores and team statistics,
- Brightcove video player – to provide fans with screenings of live matches and highlights,
- Disqus for commenting, and
- social API integration to Facebook and Twitter.
The apps were built across the iPhone and Android platforms, ensuring wide compatibility. The apps communicate with live score information via a ‘restful’ API that Reactive developers custom built.
The app’s content is managed via Sitecore CMS, while push notifications are managed and served with Urban Airship for both apps. Analytics are captured with Flurry, a mobile app analytics platform. For each device, our developers used slightly different designs so that they fit in with their own ecosystems and neither felt like a ‘port’ of the other.
The Sitecore platform allowed Reactive and Cricket Australia to rapidly build and launch a digital presence for the new KFC T20 Big Bash League and team pages inside of 10 months.
Sitecore provides a centralised platform for eight team sites to work out of, which allows for easier management of content and admin access.
The websites have clocked up jaw-dropping numbers, with site traffic exceeding expectations. Over six million page views were delivered during the season and fan engagement on the site was over three and a half minutes. The newfound fans have continued pouring in, with an average 75-80% of new visits recorded.
The KFC T20 Big Bash League mobile apps, which pull in news and data from Sitecore, are also recording impressive numbers. The iPhone app has over 84,000 downloads and, during the cricket season, peaked at number one in the App Store for free sports apps. Cricket fans are clamouring to download the Android app as well, with over 23,500 new users since launch. The Android version is rated 4.7 stars out of five on the Android Market and the iPhone version is rated four out of five stars.
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