The AFL and Telstra have trumped global powerhouses like the NBA, NFL, EPL and UEFA to win an inaugural Ultimate Sports Websites Award 2009.

The award for Best Website Style for a Federation or League Site was published by global marketers SportBusiness, to pay homage to the increasingly important role an effective online presence plays in sport and commerce, ranging from attracting and engaging fans to delivering profile for sponsors and revenue generation. was the only Australian site to win an award, which were based on the SportBusiness report ‘Ultimate Sports Websites: Creating a Winning Online Proposition for Sport’, which provides a how to guide to creating a successful and profitable sports website.

The list of winners in the six categories – Content, Community, Style, Monetisation, Partnership Activation and Attracting New Fans – reads like a who’s who with,, US Masters, Chelsea FC, Manchester United, Euro 2008 and the London 2012 Olympics all recognised, with Chelsea FC’s site earning the top gong.

AFL scored top marks in the style category, said judge Rachael Church-Sanders.

Although the site contains a huge amount of content including fan services and third party advertising, its navigation is clear and uncluttered. The AFL also gained credit for monetising its data and new media rights.

Chris Taylor, director of commercial affairs, Telstra Media, said the award acknowledges BigPond’s expertise in digital sport in Australia.

Were very pleased that an independent panel has selected the AFL website as winner of best website style for a federation or league. Our aim has always been to deliver a compelling online site and to extend the reach of the AFL through our innovation in delivering content both online and on Telstra Next G mobile phones, Taylor said.

C4Digital, who designs the site, welcomed the accolade with director of Sport, Paul Andreacchio saying:

We are chuffed to win because one of the great challenges of AFL’s design was to showcase the huge breadth and depth of content without overwhelming the fan. So to be acknowledged for achieving that balance is very gratifying.