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Unifying NBA Team Sites on a Single Drupal Platform

Andre Hood, SVP, Business Development
#Drupal | Posted

Turner Broadcasting needed a rigorous, fully responsive content management system to support 30 different NBA teams’ websites, all grounded in the same code base but flexible in terms of design, content creation, and revenue-generating advertisements.

The scope of project presented the first challenge: migrating 30 distinct instances onto a single platform was no small task. Complicating the process was the need for highly sophisticated customization options based on each team’s design, content priorities, and site maintainers’ capabilities. Some teams, for instance, would have access to an experienced web development team for updates and maintenance. Others, however, would be managed by a single employee specializing in content creation.Therefore, each site had to have the same code base and capabilities but be intensely flexible from a user’s perspective.

Working with a blended group of Phase2 team members and Turner’s technical team, we created a large Drupal 7 platform that would establish consistency in code base and data sources while still allowing each team to create a distinct identity. The main goal was to avoid dependence on team-specific code, so we emphasized coding directly on the platform as opposed to on individual sites. Platform maintainers, meanwhile, can make platform-wide updates without the change impacting anything on each team site. As a result, each team site has a more cohesive feel, despite differences in colors, images, and styles.

Easily Configured, Customizable Team Sites

By using the Panels module across the entire platform, we made it easy for each team to configure mini sites and site sections through reusable layouts. The “Configure this Page” options lets maintainers drag and drop content within the page, making it simple to design pages with an eye towards user experience. The addition of a powerful, flexible ad-placement tool also expanded teams’ capability to cater to relevant audiences.

Creating a Court-Side Web Experience

One of the most revelatory features of the new NBA platform was the addition of Court Side Block, a feature which gives fans the ability to see relevant data as NBA games are being played. Player statistics, records, and team figures are now at viewers’ fingertips as the drama unfolds in real time. Combined with the fact that the NBA is the first national sports league to be fully responsive, the court-side web experience means that Turner is able to offer fans an exceptional game experience.

Phase2 and Turner Broadcasting transformed a disjointed, incohesive collection of separate web instances into a unified league platform. Each team’s site maintainers can easily configure their team’s instance to best fit their technical capabilities. At the same time, we enhanced fans’ ability to enjoy their favorite sport from any device.

Andre Hood

SVP, Business Development