Summer Review featuring Leeds Rhinos, Ireland 2023, Guinness PRO14 & British & Irish Lions

by | Sep 6, 2017

So, summer is officially over, at least here at Sotic, signalled by the commencement of competitive rugby union with both the Aviva Premiership and the new-look Guinness PRO14 competitions kicking off last Friday. Here’s a look back at some of the projects we have been working on over the summer.

Over the summer months the Guinness PRO12 became PRO14 with the addition of two South African clubs, the Cheetahs and the Kings. We undertook work to effectively re-brand the website, create content sections for the two new clubs, and re-mastered the fixture list, league table and live areas of the site to adopt the conference style set-up of the new league as well an extra match each weekend. We also revamped the match pages on the site (see here for an example) the Overview, Preview, Report, Live and Performance Stats, improving layout and increasing the amount of information available for users.

The beginning of September also sees the annual Tour of Britain cycling event take place. This multi-stage competition features some of the world’s top riders and is part of the UCI’s Europe Tour. Sotic have been working with The Tour since 2013 and fans can follow each stage of the event live on their website until the big finish this Sunday in Cardiff, just 300 yards from the Sotic Office.

The 2017 British & Irish Lions tour was Sotic’s third as digital partner to the Lions and while the first match was played on the 3rd June, it was a culmination of nearly two years work. The lionsrugby.com site was originally launched in November 2015 on the Opentext CMS but we had been continuously developing and tweaking in the lead up to the tour and in fact, rebuilt the entire site on WordPress, quietly launching a couple of weeks ahead of the first match. We’re biased of course but felt particularly proud of the match pages, the live offering which was so crucial given the time difference between the UK and New Zealand (with many people following games in work) and the player profiles.

Our rugby league client Leeds Rhinos play throughout the summer months and their website got a major overhaul launching with a brand new design, again built on the WordPress CMS and hosted on AWS. The site integrates Opta performance data, live scoring, a history timeline, extended player biographies with performance data, and live blogging to name just a few features.

We also developed a brand new site to support the Irish Rugby Football Union in their bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
This site, which is multi-lingual and available in French, Italian and Spanish, in addition to English, is quite different to our usual fayre – there’s no integrated scores or statistics or profiles. Rather it’s brochure-style, showcasing everything that Ireland has to offer in terms of its ability to host a major tournament, from its stadia (highlighted on the site in a 3D interactive map), and infrastructure to it’s fans and legendary hospitality. We will know in November if the IRFU have been successful in their bid.

This is just a small flavour of what we’ve been up to over the summer at Sotic. We’ve been improving and developing both at the front and back end of our sites and I feel that we are seeing the fruits of our labour with some truly smashing features. We have a number of exciting projects in the pipeline for the Autumn and look forward to sharing more on those with you in the coming weeks.