Southampton FC has launched a new club website in partnership with digital agency, Delete, which is part of a wider effort by the Premier League club also known as “Saints,” to create a market leading digital experience for the fans. Capitalising on the club’s recent success, with the first team achieving its highest ever Premier League finish and qualifying for the Europa League, Saints now have a digital platform to support the growth of the club’s increasing fan base. Saints’ previous site was built on the Football League’s third party digital platform (FLI) which provided a generic set of controlled functionality with limitations around promotion, advertising, customer data, but most critically prevented the club from offering their fans a tailored brand experience.
Delete collaborated with the Saints marketing and media team to develop a digital transformation strategy which outlined the vision and opportunity for the club to re-think it’s approach to digital across the board. The first project identified was the main club website including a complete technology overhaul, with Sitecore chosen as the central platform to power the product and provide a single customer view across all channels. Saint’s new digital offering breaks the traditional mould of a football club website, with the entire experience built around the cycle of the team and their matches, with simplified navigation and a fluid user experience that encourages continuous content discovery. “Saints Live” provides fans with a dynamic news hub bringing together a mix of editorial, social and video content all in a single news stream. Mobile engagement was a key factor throughout the design with over 60% of users interacting through this device. The custom Match Day Live mobile experience was particularly important to ensure fans could follow the match on the move, in the stadium or on the second screen. The new Southampton FC website marks the first release of the digital transformation programme Saints are undertaking with new Retail and Ticketing platforms planned to follow in the near future.
Tom Dougherty, Partner and UX Director at Delete commented: “The new Saints site was created with a ‘fan first’ philosophy and designed to build a closer relationship between the club and fans, by providing an unparalleled experience of their club. We looked deeply at football fan digital behaviour, content consumption patterns and the wide range of channels in the market offering football based content. We knew we had to create something unique and exclusive to hold fan interest. With a broadcast hub approach, the site delivers a high frequency of updates day in day out, exclusive content and live streaming across all devices, ensuring it becomes the only place to be for all things Saints! It’s exciting to help Southampton launch this first phase and continue to break new ground in this field.”
James Kennedy, Head of Marketing at Southampton FC, added: “Our partnership with Delete has enabled us to realise our ambitions for offering a best in class digital experience to our fans. Our belief is that we should be measuring ourselves against, not just competing Premier League clubs, but with the world’s leading consumer brands’ and their digital presence. Delete’s passion for understanding both our brand and business objectives at a commercial level made them the perfect partner for this project. As online and multi-device experiences become increasingly important to our fans, it was important that we adapted to suit and provided a future proofed platform that can develop with us over time. We are looking forward to unveiling more things over the coming months.”