Our experience delivering custom solutions for clients across several different industries gives us the opportunity to work with many exciting organizations. One of these organizations is the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), the union for professional football players in the National Football League. Established in 1956, the NFLPA has a long history of assuring proper recognition and representation of players’ interests. AIS has had the privilege of working with the NFLPA previously, developing and implementing a new player management system for its members. The NFLPA was so impressed with our service, expertise and delivery that we were contracted to work on a new project with them, developing a complete interactive cross-platform website equipped to maintain and manage active engagement with former NFL players, active players and business partners.
The goal of NFLPLA.com was always to meet both the needs of the union as well as the marketing and licensing arm of the organization, NFL Players, Inc. (NFLPI), through one singular web interface. However, attempting to service both NFPLA and NFLPI through one site and provide the custom user experience needed to facilitate the individual goals of each organization was quite a difficult task. This is where AIS stepped in to help rethink this approach, and provide a new implementation plan that would achieve the desired goal of providing one interface for both the NFLPA and NFLPI, without confusing its members and partners.
The NFLPA wanted a general landing page that allowed users to navigate to either a NFLPA or NFLPI persona. Content for the NFLPA persona would need to be focused on membership and the services provided to players. The NFLPI content needed to be focused on B2B marketing initiatives and working with current and prospective partners. Content, layout and other user experience aspects would have to be customized and targeted based on not only the persona, but also specific roles such as active player, former player, licensee, etc.
Moreover, the new website needed to accomplish three main goals: 1) demonstrate that NFL Players Inc. was a trusted resource at the table; 2) deliver access to the influence, power and personal stories of NFL players; and 3) drive success for the client’s business.
After going through a detailed envisioning process, our team was able to identify all of the technical requirements needed to deliver on the needs of the NFLPA. The final result was a website that allows users to switch between the NFLPA and NFLPI content areas and clearly understand which area of the site they are browsing. Multiple themes (or templates) are supported on the site, which allows the ability to secure content within a page, restricting and displaying sections based on authenticated user roles. Player information forms on the NFLPA site allow players to securely request updates to their address and other personal information that is stored in the back end data repository application. Licensees that access the NFLPI site can securely and privately upload royalty information and view reports. For both the NFLPA and NFLPI areas, an audit system tracks when a user accesses secured content. A reporting mechanism allows website administrators to view audit data.
As with previous engagements with the NFLPA and several other clients, we used Orchard CMS for this project. Orchard is a free, open-source content management system built on the ASP.NET MVC platform, and met or exceeded each of the NFLPA’s architectural goals. We recommended the use of Orchard for the following reasons:
• It is built on the Microsoft ASP.NET MVC technology and uses industry-standard software development practices
• It is backed by Microsoft
• It has a robust community support since 2009
• It is licensed under BSD
• Modules that were built for the NFLPA Trust website may be reused – these include the ability to expose Twitter feeds, aggregate and display RSS/Atom feeds and pull a list of events from an external Google calendar
• Orchard CMS is easily hosted on Azure
Business and Technical Achievements
With the help of AIS, the NFLPA succeeded in their goal of building a mobile-friendly online destination that provides member services while providing easy access to NLFPI offerings that educate current and future partners without any confusion. The site now demonstrates NFLPI capabilities in an easy to understand manner, creating added value and delivering unparalleled service for partners, sponsors and licensees.
On the back end, the NFLPA now has a secure website architecture that can easily scale compute resources up and down to meet the ever fluctuating traffic demands that are largely based on unpredictable, high-profile newsworthy events.
• Orchard 1.8
• Active Directory