Tackling a new website for Wigan Warriors

Posted: 10/04/2024

Author: Fishtank

As a creative agency based in the gorgeous town of Mirfield, West Yorkshire, we’ve been passionate about helping clients reach their goals since we were founded back in 2008. One client that we take great pride in working with is Wigan Warriors; a dedicated rugby league team both on and off the pitch, and a true pleasure to have on board.

Taking the sporting world by storm, we have worked alongside the World Club Challenge champions Wigan Warriors for over 15 years – and it’s safe to say we’ve built one hell of a relationship.
Feeling more like an extension of the Fishtank team than a client, Wigan have provided us with some creatively challenging projects throughout the years that have been a joy to work on. We were an integral support in rolling out their latest rebrand across their organisation back in 2018, which is now heavily embedded in the club’s culture. When it comes to the day-to-day, we work consistently on Wigan’s season ticket and kit launch campaigns, supporting their social media channels with asset creation, alongside diversified continued creative support throughout the season. We were also a huge part of their recent campaign for the World Club Challenge, helping them secure a sold-out DW Stadium live on Sky Sports through eye-catching design and information across socials and the website (spoiler alert: they WON!).

For any integrated agency, the opportunity to embark on a new website design is exhilarating, especially when it involves an esteemed club like Wigan Warriors. The existing website (previously created by our wonderful Fishtank team) has truly stood the test of time and served fans over the years, providing a hub for updates, news and engagement with their favourite team.
As the club expanded both on and off the pitch, it became evident that they required a shiny new platform that could keep up with the integrations that the club required and match the growing demands of the evolving digital landscape.

With this in mind, the goal was clear: to create a sleek modern platform that not only accommodates the club’s current offerings but also anticipates future needs and trends. Drawing upon our previous experience and intimate knowledge of the club, we set out to design a website that would prioritise both functionality and user experience, honing in on a more minimalist approach that focuses on communicating essential information and enhancing the overall fan experience first.

Helping Wigan score their goals

The biggest requirement of Wigan’s new website was that it was able to be managed by their in-house marketing team to ensure it was consistently up to date for the fans. It was also important to them as a club that they had control over what was featured on various key pages so they could be both proactive and reactive to remain relevant always.
As the Wigan Warriors continue to write new chapters, they prove rugby has grown tremendously as a game over the last 5 years, and it’s incredible to watch the women’s and disability teams gain their own fan bases. After the enormous success of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup that was hosted in England, Wigan wanted their site to be reflective of the expansion and increase in popularity that the game has seen over the last few years. It became our mission to create an area on the new site that celebrated all of the Warriors that pull on the cherry and white jersey, allowing fans access to team lineup, results, fixtures and match reports.

Wigan are also big on the experience their fans have both at the pitchside and across their digital platforms, so this was a huge focus for us when mapping out the different areas and elements of the new site. Ensuring that functionalities are easy to navigate and the website is useable across all devices was something we kept at the forefront of our minds throughout the design and build.
The club made it clear from the start that they wanted the new site to provide a home for the hospitality, community and any educational material they had, as they wanted to keep everything as current as possible for their loyal cherry and white supporters. As an innovative team that is always bettering themselves and their facilities, it was paramount that the website also had a section for the community and a section for the club, so that fans and staff always knew what was happening and what was being added to drive the club forward.

Hitting the field with website design

Our head of design, Joe, has worked on the Wigan account for over a decade and has had the privilege of watching the club develop and grow on and off the pitch. Joe has moved from traditional design mediums into digital as he continues to strive for a greater understanding of the ever-evolving digital landscape, and this is something he was able to bring to the design of Wigan’s new digital platform. As a rugby fan himself (he supports Castleford Tigers, but we won’t tell Wigan if you don’t) and an all-around ambassador for the game, he was able to bring a fan’s perspective to the design to ensure an enhanced experience that met the needs of the club’s supporters. It’s safe to say, he couldn’t wait to tackle the new Warriors digital platform and we couldn’t wait to see what design magic he conjured up.

As a huge organisation that operates across a variety of areas of the business, we knew we had to ensure we delivered and housed these areas within the site. For starters, we needed to deliver engaging fan interactions, subscription-based video content, shop integration and ticketing. The new site was designed and developed with accessibility, relevance and simplicity as its core foundations. It allows the Warriors’ faithful fans to quickly and easily access information about the team’s latest results, fixtures and team news alongside club updates and activities.

From a commercial perspective, we ensured that the Club had the capability to leverage sponsorship opportunities by ensuring there were several promotional and sponsored components available. This was introduced to increase commercial revenue and increase partnership opportunities.

Thanks to our enduring partnership and the work carried out by our designers and the talented team at Wigan over the years, we knew the platform had to strike the perfect balance. It had to harmonise the bold visual style that we’ve cultivated since their 2018 rebrand with the latest UX/UI industry standards and best practices.

Due to the fast-paced nature of sports marketing, Wigan needed the autonomy to be able to quickly and efficiently react to the changing needs of the organisation. Whether that’s adding a new component to an existing page layout, hiding certain components when the content becomes outdated, or creating a whole new page using our pre-built templates with auto-populated layouts, we crafted a site where they hold the reins, empowering them to add or remove content at will, effortlessly catering to their every need.
The beauty of working with a component-led design-build means that should they require a new functionality in the future, we can look to create those components to ensure the site remains agile as Wigan continue to push the boundaries of the sport.

Having a ball with website development

The work we have done in developing the new Wigan Warriors website has prioritised delivering a comprehensive online platform for fans. By seamlessly connecting to the Stats Perform API, the website now ensures fans have access to the latest fixtures, results, and league standings for the First Team, keeping them up to date with all the action. We have also ensured the website proudly features the bold new kits for the 2024 season available in the Wigan Store, allowing fans to show their support in style and find all merch with ease.

One of our fabulous web developers, Charlie, has also made sure that the dev team built a site that gives fans an insight into the players and coaches for each team; this helps to build a deeper connection between fans and their sporting heroes and is something Wigan Warriors were passionate about including. We also prioritised the migration of all old blog posts into the new website and its updated style, as this allowed the revamped site to still feel inclusive of Wigan’s heritage while also sticking to the minimalist design.

Introducing an innovative way of building, the new website is built with drag-and-drop flexibility utilising the WordPress block editor, which essentially allows the website to be updated and changed easily through content populators. This creative way of building empowers the client through a user-friendly experience that simplifies the process of creating and updating pages, meaning that new updates and news can be added by the client without having to come through a developer. This commitment to accessibility and functionality underscores the dedication to providing fans with the best possible online experience, ensuring the Wigan Warriors website is constantly up-to-date and relevant so that fans don’t miss a thing.

It fills us with immense pride as an agency to deliver something entirely driven by our client’s desires and requirements, particularly when that client, like Wigan, has placed such deep trust and invested significant time in our partnership. Their confidence in us fuels our dedication to exceed expectations and uphold the excellence they deserve.

Converting for Wigan Warriors

So, after an extensive planning phase, numerous test runs, and meticulous fine-tuning overseen by our Head of Design, Joe, and his exceptional team, along with the diligent efforts of Web Developer, Charlie, and his dedicated team, we are ecstatic to unveil the official launch of Wigan Warriors’ brand new website! It’s live and ready for you to dive in… Have a peek at it here.

This sleek and seamless website will take the Warriors to new heights and give their fans the ultimate experience. All areas of the club shine brightly within the website, and all of their amazing teams now have their dedicated area that fans can engage with – warriors together… Both the Fishtank team and the Wigan team alike are extremely proud of this project and cannot wait to see how it serves the fans for years to come.

P.S. The website isn’t the only thing Wigan Warriors will be launching soon; keep your eyes peeled for Wigan TV 👀

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