Sevilla FC - Digital Strategy and Drupal 8 to improve an online brand

Sevilla FC. A brand that never stops growing

Formed in 1890, Sevilla FC is one of the oldest and most important football teams in Spain. The club has won a number of trophies and titles that make it one of the most successful teams in Europe in recent times. Sevilla FC has become the only club in history to have won the Europa League 5 times.

Based on the latest report by KPMG Football Benchmark, the value of Sevilla FC’s brand has been growing exponentially for the last few years due to the success both on and off the field.

One of the aspects the club has improved has been its digital services. It has invested a lot of resources and effort in its visual design, user experience and improving its online brand. With more than 30,000 subscribers, 1,6 million followers on Facebook, 825,000 on Twitter, 250,000 on Instagram and an average of 250,000 unique monthly visitors to its website, the club's goal is to acquire more visitors and followers in its digital channels at a juncture where the football team is going through a good run of results in European competitions.

twitter sevilla fc

In the 21st century, being a successful football team means you need to have a proper digital strategy in place. You also need a well-established online presence and a powerful hosting infrastructure to cope with the increasing amount of fans demanding a great deal of information at very precise times (such as right after important games or to welcome new players to the team).

In order to continue growing, Sevilla FC asked us to implement a series of quality and quantitative improvements in its digital services through web, mobile and social media channels.

La Drupalera's multi-skilled team allowed us to offer a 360º digital strategy where our digital consultants defined the required improvements on the new platform always orientated to achieving measurable objectives.

Why Drupal was chosen: 
  • Drupal 8 is completely prepared to multingual sites.
  • Drupal 8 is the most secure Open Source CMS .
  • We have experience deploying scalable Drupal sites in AWS.
  • Drupal concepts are in line with our ideals as a company.
  • The previous site was built on Drupal 7.
  • Drupal is the most capable product/community development platform available.
  • It has several powerful workflow tools for content managing.
  • We love Drupal's scalability.
  • We can develop with an agile methodology and Drupal supports agile delivery.
Describe the project (goals, requirements and outcome): 

Challenges

Sevilla FC set out the need to implement a series of qualitative and quantitative improvements in the digital services they offered to its users. In particular, hardly 9 months ago the soccer club was facing major digital and technological challenges. A new digital strategy was required in order to significantly:

  • Enhance the club online brand image.
  • Increase audience levels.
  • Attract international public.

In addition (and partly as a consequence), its website required major enhancements in order to:

  • Withstand considerable traffic peaks.
  • Allow the creation of new content easily and quicker than ever.
  • Host content in a significantly higher number of languages.

All in all, a fully revamped versatile website was urgently needed to support and contribute to the tremendous success of this legendary Spanish soccer club.

Sevilla FC web

Our team analysed the general condition of the club’s digital channels in order to establish a starting point, after which we identified the followings technical and strategic goals.

Sevilla FC needed a platform for its future adapted to a growing brand

This kind of website has a constant level of users which is rarely excessively high. Nevertheless in specific moments (hours, minutes) the number of visitors can multiply by 10 or even 100. For example important news regarding players or transfer rumours. This kind of information can go viral through fans and social networks in a matter of minutes. This behaviour is very common in any important club (football, basketball, etc.).

In addition, the club has gained international recognition because of its latest successes in Europe and the international players who have been signed (Japan, Brazil, France, etc.). This is why it was important to publish content in several languages. There are many reasons to read news regarding a football club: players, trainers, rumours, match reports, interviews. And all for a growing international audience.

Finally, due to the fact that Sevilla FC is a dynamic organization with an important communications department (12 languages) they needed a strong base on which to build their website:

  • Easy to update, publish or share content.
  • Multiple languages.
  • Multimedia capabilities.
  • Agile support and maintenance.
  • Adaptable to growth.
  • Easy to integrate with third party solutions: e-commerce, tickets, radio, social media, etc.
  • Secure.

In order to improve branding and acquisition specific digital changes were required

We set up a joint operation with the Sevilla FC Marketing area which constantly looks for improvements.

We were faced with a very extensive, diversified and fragmented digital environment that showed a lack of correlation and coherence among the different channels in terms of branding, content, message and multichannel integration. We discovered a predominance of channels, contents and messages in Spanish in a multilingual environment where content was only generated in Spanish in spite of an increasing number of international users.

Responsive design

The average monthly acquisition of visitors to the web from other media and sources is much higher than that achieved from social media, something which should be especially taken into account because sport is a social industry. The challenge was centred on improving this point.

We also faced issues related to trademark rights when it came to proposing and generating exclusive and quality content for Sevilla FC which was not to be in conflict with the rights of football institutions or sponsors.

In summary, we needed to propose and implement digital improvements related to:

  • Promoting the brand image.
  • Increasing the audience and international traffic acquisition.

Solution

Goals, analysis and online strategy based on a Drupal 8 platform

Our main goal was to adapt to our client’s needs. In order to do this we carried out a personalised consultation working with all the stakeholders (e-commerce, communication, marketing, content, etc.) to fully understand how they worked and be able to provide the best online solution.

We also decided to use a new technical architecture based on Drupal 8. This allowed us to have a multilingual technological platform which improved third party integrations and offered a more accessible interface for editing, publishing and sharing user content.

A multilingual platform based on Drupal 8

We had previously invested time, money and effort in learning the technology and therefore we knew how to get the most out of it. Without a doubt it was the best decision we could have made for a project of this kind taking into account: goals, size, budget, sustainability, scalability and delivery time.

Multisite

Drupal 8 is a platform adapted to multi-site architecture.

We found a main website and several satellite sites, all of which shared content. Our main challenge was to create a sole entry point for administrators and editors from where they could easily choose the site they needed to publish content on.

We decided the main site would be the one used to manage all other sites through APIs and content categories. Besides, most of these services could be reused for other platforms such as native mobile applications.

Content Management for Mobile Apps

The club offers mobile applications to its users which can be downloaded on Android or iOS. Drupal 8 allowed us to edit and publish most of the app content from a sole entry point and we centralised the content management (mobile, web, third parties system).

Multilingual

One of the most important features which made us use Drupal 8 was its multilingual capability, i.e. being able to show content in different languages depending on the location or language selected. Due to Drupal 8’s multilingual system we were easily able to manage all the translations into 14 languages. These idiomatic versions will be launched as soon as the club’s international communication team create the content.

multilingual

Currently, the website has versions in 6 languages. Some of them such as Arabic and Chinese have been a great challenge for our frontend team because the way the language is read is completely different.

Multilingual menu

Security

One of the reasons we chose Drupal 8 was because it’s the most secure Open Source CMS in the market. Drupal 8 was stable and scalable enough for this critical website to be launched.

Performance

Software of the new platform has greatly improved performance, user experience, maintenance costs and hardware consumption. However, we had to make decisions related to the infrastructure which supports the new platform with critical requirements.

Finally, we decided to use a simple, economic and optimised infrastructure which was implemented with EC2 for the Amazon Web Services.

To be able to cope with periods of high traffic, we implemented the CloudFront Web Services by Amazon. This measure and a good policy of caching/refresh of CloudFront has meant that concurrent access to the website could be improved tenfold.

To implement the system we have built a module which helps to efficiently manage the cache refresh in Amazon Cloud Front Service. In this post we can find more information related to the integration about our module and Drupal 8.

You also can know more about our Digital strategy in this page.

RESULTS

A satisfied client and measurable results are the best business card.

Within the many results we obtained from this project (and we are still working on improving it) we highlight customer satisfaction. In addition, helping and improving both strategies (technical and digital), tactics and metrics of a Digital Marketing Project with a client of international stature in the sport industry was a challenge with which outcome we feel very satisfied with:

  • The monthly increase of both user acquisition and global audience has already risen by 10%.
  • There has been a marked improvement in the experience of the users who access through the digital channels for which the consultancy was conducted which has resulted in positive feedback regarding both their satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Backoffice user satisfaction with the new published, edited and translated versions was unanimous.
  • Performance of the new platform has improved tenfold.
  • Stability and high availability of the website.
  • More readability of the code.

TESTIMONIAL

La Drupalera understood our needs extremely well, applying their deep digital knowledge to the football and sports industry. Engaging with fans, increasing our database and designing new digital assets are critical for a club like us. La Drupalera’s team has more than met our expectations”

Ramón Loarte - Chief Marketing Officer, Sevilla Fútbol Club S.A.D.

Modules/Themes/Distributions
Organizations involved: 
Community contributions: 

We have contributed the module CloudFront Edge Caching

Sevilla Fc contact page
History section with dinamic timeline
Palmarés section
Responsive design
Sevilla FC website
Mobile menu
Twitter Sevilla FC
Right-to-left languages
Multilingual menu

Comments

Wim Leers’s picture

This is a Drupal 8 site, but the write-up links to various Drupal 7 modules (e.g. https://www.drupal.org/project/restws and https://www.drupal.org/project/quickedit, both of which now are in core). That should get fixed.

sisko’s picture

Thanks for this case study.

Can you tell me how you represented the media aspects of the site?

The videos seem to be hosted on YouTube but the text on the videos translate into different languages depending on which language is selected.

Is each video represented as a node or an entity? If entities, can you elaborate on the implementation, please?

allexim’s picture

Dear friends, hello!

I noticed, there is a lot of white spaces on the front page
Blocks with info (where Read more) with no background or borders
And bwin-block looks like orphan without kin.

- only my own opinion

Also i don't understand, why you were needed to create yet one domain for ticketing in case users have to buy tickets through 3rd-party source.

On my wide screen (>1800px) 31 JAN tablet is little bit overlaps "First team" menu.

But, nevertheless, neat website