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England & Great Britain Hockey.

Launching responsive sites and improving user experience across all channels.

England Hockey (EH) is the national governing body responsible for the management and development of the sport from grassroots to elite levels. Together with Great Britain Hockey (GBH), they support national squads on their way to becoming the next generation of Olympic team members. Six regions, 45 counties, and more than 800 clubs affiliate to EH, so it was essential to build a platform that would meet the needs of all these teams and larger groups.

The two organizations chose The MTM Agency to deliver two modern, responsive sites, built with Kontent.ai, to make the sport more accessible for people across the United Kingdom. 


by The MTM Agency

Challenges

  • England Hockey (EH) and Great Britain Hockey (GBH) wanted to reach more hockey fans and players.
  • MTM was tasked with creating two sites that would support each of the organizations’ audiences.
  • EH needed a brand identity that would reflect their values.
  • Stakeholders wanted to reuse existing content, build integrations with external platforms, and meet the needs of local clubs as well as the general public. 

Solutions

  • The team combined the headless CMS with third-party services to provide an end-to-end customer experience.
  • The solution pulls in data such as player statistics and upcoming matches from external sources of data.
  • SEO improvements were made to drive more people to the sites.
  • Collections enables 8 Areas to maintain independent sites in the same Kontent.ai project.

Results

  • England Hockey’s organic visibility increased by 300% in the first month.
  • The average user rating is now 4.5/5 across both sites.
  • Post-launch, revenue delivered via the e-shop and through ticket sales increased.
  • Integrations with third-party services such as See Tickets contribute to a seamless customer experience.

Bringing hockey to the people

England Hockey (EH) is committed to creating a nation where hockey matters. Being one of the UK’s largest national governing bodies (NGBs), they’re responsible for the management and development of hockey in England and support over 15,000 coaches, umpires, and officials.

Working hand-in-hand with Great Britain Hockey (GBH), they encourage people of all ages to take up hockey with a shared goal of increasing the visibility of the sport. To reach this goal, they each needed a modern site that would attract more visitors and reflect their values: pride, openness, respect, and teamwork.

Modernizing the brand

Aiming to improve the user experience for their online visitors, EH and GBH wanted to launch two responsive sites that would better address each of their audience segments. After careful consideration, the two organizations chose MTM for their extensive experience with similar-sized digital projects and tasked them with developing two distinct sites that would support the sport’s long-term ambitions.

To maximize the value of England Hockey’s digital investment, MTM was also asked to develop a new brand identity that would have a fresh, modern look and feel. It was essential to emphasize inclusion, encourage participation, and make it easy for all users to quickly find relevant information on the sites.

England Hockey site
England Hockey site

Diving head-first into headless

MTM started working on a solution that would meet each audience’s requirements while discussing functionality, site structure, design, and other aspects of the sites with a large group of internal and external stakeholders. They wanted to reuse their existing content, build complex integrations with external platforms, and meet the needs of local clubs as well as the general public. MTM focused on the task at hand, ensuring the suggested solution would meet all the requirements specified by EH and GBH.

Having reviewed a number of suitable content management systems, the team decided Kontent.ai would be the best fit for these two projects. The headless platform enabled the development team to build out the EH and GBH sites from a single license and provide user accounts using Azure B2C Authentication. In addition to that, MTM identified third-party services, such as See Tickets, so that they could create an end-to-end customer experience across all digital touchpoints without costly development.

The sites were designed based on UX and SEO best practices so that all visitors would quickly find relevant information. Rich snippets and other SEO improvements were implemented to help both brands stand out in the search results. The final solution was also integrated with external sources of data to pull in player statistics, upcoming matches, and other content from the International Hockey Federation and Sportlomo.

England Hockey also created 8 unique subdomains to represent each Area (smaller administrative structures governed by England Hockey). These subdomains each look and feel like independent websites, but are all maintained within a single Kontent.ai project. Content for each site is kept separate by means of Collections, which sets boundaries for content within a single project.

London Hockey is one of the 8 Areas maintained in a single Kontent.ai project.

Collections allow England Hockey to grant editors different permissions on a per-Collection basis. This means an editor for London Hockey can edit content for their site, but can’t edit content for South East Hockey. This set up helps keep roles and permissions clear, while keeping all editors working in the same CMS.

From a development perspective, Collections allows each subdomain to use the same project configuration, saving development time. But each subdomain can also have their own unique stylesheet, which gives each Area site a unique look and feel.

Giving fans new opportunities for engagement

In the first month after launching both sites, both organizations experienced a significant increase in organic visibility (300% for EH and 100% for GBH). At the same time, revenue coming from the e-shop and ticket sales also increased. 

Moreover, the platforms drive the relationship between GBH and EH and the clubs that are affiliated to these two organizations. The EH site makes it easy for visitors to find a club based on their criteria (location, gender, age, etc.), learn how they can join or support the club, and get in touch. The new sites help increase awareness of the sport, encourage membership, and make hockey more accessible so everyone can find their way to play.

MTM is now working with EH and GBH to define and plan iterative improvements and updates, acting on insights from analytics tools. Kontent.ai’s headless foundation enables the teams to scale EH and GBH’s content operations cost-effectively in the future, with unique content management and collaboration capabilities streamlining their content creation process.

  • 300% increase in organic visibility

  • Best-in-class page load speed

  • Mobile-first responsive design

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MTM built two new sites for us. England Hockey, to service the delivery of the sport in England and those that play hockey, and Great Britain Hockey to service our international team fan base. Through working as a partnership, we were able to combine their technical and design knowledge with our customer knowledge to produce two sites that are immediately fit for purpose.

Sally Mapley, Player Pathway Manager, England Hockey

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