Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Is The NFL Moving To A Unified Web Site?
Over the holidays I caught up on reading and responding to email, in the process managing both my personal and work email inboxes to zero. One of the messages I processed came from the National Football League, or NFL. As I am a New England Patriots season ticket holder, this is probably why I received it. An image of the short message is below:
The message text read as follows:
In the next few weeks we'll be redesigning the Patriots website, and are hoping that you will share your opinion with us about the current website. By participating in this short survey, you will provide valuable information to help us evaluate the design and functionality of your favorite team's website. To get started, please click here to take the survey.
Thanks for your help!
After reading it and re-reading it, as well as taking the brief survey, I had one question, are NFL team Web sites moving to a unified platform?
Such a move does not surprise me, as other sports leagues have taken a similar approach. Major League Baseball, or MLB, first comes to mind as they made this move many years ago. Other US pro sports leagues, such as Major League Soccer and the National Hockey League also have. The National Basketball League (NBA) appears to have, but the Boston Celtics Web site appears different from the other NBA team Web sites, though it does not mean it’s not on a common platform.
Having all team Web sites on a common platform provides many gains, which outweigh the negatives. First and foremost is cost and technical management – no need for 32 separate Web sites (there are 32 NFL teams), where you technically have one. Each team Web site (or section of the NFL site) will have a similar navigation structure, making it easy for the Web visitor to navigate from team-to-team. You still have your team-based content writers and coordinators, or whatever their title would be. You can also better leverage content across team sites with relative ease, both the written word and rich media, and the latter may be driving much of this. MLB has been very successful and providing broadcasts and audio and video of games, and charging for it. The NFL, which is known for its high-quality NFL Films, will probably make a similar offer.
If there are any drawbacks from combining Web sites is the complete control of the look and feel and overall content of the Web site. This will be more of an internal team issue than for the fans. Hopefully combining all Web sites will force all teams to offer a consistent level of quality content and design, where currently some team sites offer more content than others, not to mention some have a better design as others.
I performed a few searches and did not see anything specifically mentioning any form of unifying move. I welcome any thoughts and opinions on this, not just from a sports standpoint but from a branding and design view as well. Plus any insight into if the NFL is actually doing this is welcome too.