Arsenal FC

BUILDING A GLOBAL FOOTBALL DIGITAL EXPERIENCE

We developed an award-winning digital experience to serve Arsenal’s millions of fans around the world.

Since our appointment as the Gunners’ technical partner in 2008, we’ve been responsible for the development of its official website as well as its HD video channel Arsenal Player. The latest iterations of both platforms, launched in 2013 and 2015, respectively, are helping the club to bring world class content to its global fanbase.

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THE CHALLENGE

Arsenal was ready to build on its previous digital success.

Our development of Arsenal.com in 2008 had earned several awards - including two Website of the Year accolades - and helped the club to communicate effectively with more fans than ever before. Subsequently, we built the club's video channel, Arsenal Player.

However, to continue providing fans with a relevant and engaging online experience, Arsenal commissioned us to redevelop the site in 2012/13. Once complete, the focus was to bring Arsenal Player up-to-date and in-line with its official site to complete a modern digital offering that offered a great experience for its fans.

THE WEBSITE

Prior to the development, in-depth user research was undertaken.

The insights discovered were used to inform the club’s digital approach, including making the new site responsive to serve content to its fans across all device types. Other changes included contemporary and image-led visuals created by the club’s design partner, a new editorial strategy based on tiered clusters of content and a streamlined navigation that was less cluttered than the previous version.

Working closely with Arsenal, we brought these elements to life with a complete front-end redevelopment.

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We overhauled the site’s content editor to allow for a greater variety of content types.

The club wanted a more dynamic, magazine-style editorial layout, with the flexibility to add image galleries, videos, league tables and pull-out quotes to its article pages to increase fan engagement. We revamped the content editor using a modular approach that allows Arsenal’s editorial team to select and drop-in different feature styles with ease.

James Halsall

“Our approach has fulfilled Arsenal’s vision for its content pages, empowering its team to create feature-rich content that is interesting for fans.”

James Halsall Technical Team Lead
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We found a new way of handling the club’s data.

Prior to the redevelopment, Arsenal was running two separate user databases for Arsenal.com and Arsenal Player. As part of the rebuild, we created a standalone app that manages the storage of all user data in one place for greater efficiency.

The official iOS and Android applications now make use of this new authentication API to manage user logins. This has allowed us to manage all business logic surrounding login and registration in a single location, streamlining development and reducing maintenance costs for Arsenal. Plus, the API has empowered the club to do more with its websites, including allowing its international microsite partners in China and elsewhere to capture more data from fans around the world.

The site is continually improved through iterative development.

One of the biggest benefits of working so closely with the club is that we’re able to identify and implement new ways of getting more out of digital. For example, following the website relaunch, we implemented a new digital registration process to increase membership sign-ups.

Arsenal has two levels of membership available to its fans; Digital, which is free and gives fans access to all content, including videos on Arsenal Player; and Red; a paid-for package, which offers a wide range of benefits, including the opportunity to buy match day tickets.

Alec Woolford
Alec Woolford

“We implemented a simple registration page in six different languages, linked to from within the website and via the club’s emails, to increase digital sign-ups and create more opportunities for the club to promote its Red membership.”

Alec Woolford Operations Director

ARSENAL PLAYER

We built a faster, streamlined video channel offering improved performance.

Our next challenge was to redevelop Arsenal Player to bring it in-line with the main club site and offer a modern, mobile- and tablet-friendly video channel for the fans. The platform required a visual rebrand, carried out by the club’s design partner, as well as a simplified navigation.

Mark Wilson
Mark Wilson

“By alleviating the server load, Arsenal Player offers faster and better performance across all devices, including mobile and tablet”

Mark Wilson Technical Team Lead

We built the platform as a single page app.

With this being a video-based website, we recommended a single page app - an approach utilised by other popular video platforms, including YouTube - where only the video is loaded in rather than the full page.

The single page app required a new layer to be added to the existing CMS, for which we used the Symfony framework. This means that rather than serving a fully rendered page of HTML, it only serves the raw data. The front-end application then takes the data and builds the interface in the browser rather than on the server, creating a much faster website.

OUTCOMES

45m page views

Arsenal.com regularly generates 45 million page views in one month.

4-7m monthly users

The site serves between four and seven million visitors every month.

43% longer sessions

Session durations for Arsenal Player have risen by 43% year-on-year.

"Rippleffect has been a major part of the success of the Arsenal website over the last six years. They have delivered two industry-acclaimed sites that cater for between four and seven million unique users every month, regularly delivering over 45m pageviews. Arsenal has a huge international following and is a global brand and therefore our online presence needs to facilitate and nurture the Arsenal global online community, be the top reference site for news and facts and be a source of Arsenal exclusives."
Ben Ladkin, general manager of Arsenal Broadband Ltd Arsenal Football Club
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