If you are a football fan, or soccer, as the Australians like to call it, this is a project you'd want to read about. We present you the story of Sydney FC and their return to their spiritual home, the Sydney Football Stadium, after being on the road for four successful years. There certainly is no place like home, and Sydney FC's new stadium website is the perfect combination of technology and creativity to digitalize the Sydney Football Stadium and create an engaging, high-impact digital destination for members and fans. The project truly offers an experience like no other.

Being Australia's leading football club, Sydney FC is also Australia's most successful football team, with a total of 25 trophy wins in their 16-year history created by local heroes and football legends. To celebrate the wondrous experiences shared at the old Allianz Stadium, Sydney FC wanted to create a special place for members and fans: a new and improved stadium.

The Sydney Football Stadium features superior views from every seat and a roofline that keeps in the noise and keeps out the rain. In addition, visitors can enjoy a concourse that allows great views of the pitch when collecting food and drinks, a new Tunnel Club that offers an inner sanctum experience for Sky Blue fans, and suites and Private Boxes designed for the modern corporate world. Members will experience food and drink from some of Australia's finest and most celebrated restaurants and bars. Created with a sculptural ribbon facade housing a delicate veil of bronze fins, the stadium's design draws on its environment of fig trees, the Kippax Lake, and the Sydney Cricket Ground to create a stadium for you to enjoy that blends into its surroundings. There will be a 1500 space car park at the center point of a village precinct that houses open space to meet in, tennis courts, a children's play area, plus a cafe and restaurant when it opens in 2023.

Image of Sydney FC landing page There's no place like home

The stadium site was built in collaboration with Herbert Digital, a Storyblok partner who loves bringing digital ideas, products and experiences to life that are delightful to use and forge a deeper connection between brands and customers. Herbert is an independent digital solutions consultancy driven by understanding human needs, harnessing technical capability, infusing beautiful design, and looking to future possibilities. They thrive on finding elegant solutions to complex problems and deep collaboration with their partners to help their businesses flourish.

The Herbert team has helped all-size businesses navigate the digital landscape and adopt solutions that are best of breed and fit for their stage in the digital transformation journey. They have helped their clients innovate on their digital products and platforms, from discovery, research, UX and design through to full-stack engineering, delivery, and ongoing support. In order to deliver successful projects, the Herbert team puts a lot of emphasis on discovery and truly understanding the “why” for each initiative in order to best craft a solution that is 100% on-point. By evaluating what their clients need and their current skills and resourcing, Herbert can either offer the full spectrum or plug into specific areas to bridge the transformation gap.

Herbert Digital’s dedication and commitment to their client Sydney FC help both teams identify the most important project needs and expectations during the discovery phase. In addition to creating a one-stop-shop for all Sydney Football Stadium news and information, the most important aspect of the project was to create a unique membership and seat selection for members and fans.

Quote from Jeremy Butler​, General Manager, Marketing @ Sydney FC

  • “Sydney FC were stepping into the unknown when we embarked on this ambitious project and the partnership with Herbert played a crucial role in allowing us to achieve our business goals. The initial discovery work driven by Herbert was key to the success of the project. This allowed Herbert to map out the complex backend structure required to create the Find My Experience tool that sits at the heart of the website. Herbert’s understanding of the power of Storyblok then became evident as Adrian Hoess and his team quickly created a best-in-class site, before providing frequent and timely updates for us. Adrian’s hands-on management and excellent communication skills led to a smooth process that was greatly appreciated by Sydney FC.”

    Jeremy Butler​

    General Manager, Marketing @ Sydney FC
    Jeremy Butler​

The project

Sydney FC’s goal was to build hype and excitement about the club’s return to their spiritual home ground and their newly built stadium opening in August of 2022. From the start, they needed to ensure that members, fans, and corporates can easily find and lock in the member packages, seat selection, and hospitality packages available in the new stadium well before the first game. To achieve all this, Sydney FC created:

Australia’s first augmented reality (AR) stadium experience

Using the latest Web AR technology, members can now enter the stadium via a 3D model of the venue on their mobile phones after scanning a QR code. The view can be projected onto a flat surface such as a kitchen table, office desk, or local park and users can navigate around the stadium. This allows them to move onto the pitch, sit in the stands, walk around the exterior of the stadium and take photos. They can also share their experience with friends and family.

A new and interactive stadium microsite

The microsite experience offers supporters a one-stop-shop for all Sydney Football Stadium news and information and has been built with powerful JAM Stack software to allow for faster download speeds. The site features a unique Experience Selector that allows visitors to pick the best seats for their circumstances, including the atmosphere they want to enjoy and the groups of people that they want to sit with. This specially designed tool allows businesses to find the perfect hospitality option for their clients and staff. Lastly, the website provides all the information necessary for the different types of memberships and the experiences included in those membership packages. With the help of the Experience Selector, members can now be offered and purchase the perfect selection of features and benefits based on their specific preferences.

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The site has been built in partnership with Herbert Digital and the following technology stack:

Storyblok
CMS
Next.js
Framework
Vercel
Hosting

Why Storyblok for the FC Sydney stadium website?

Because of Herbert Digital’s experience with Storyblok’s CMS and the requirements Sydney FC had in delivering a solution that is easy to use and manage, Storyblok was selected for the project.

Quote from Adrian Hoess, Founder, HERBERT Digital

  • “The Sydney FC requirements were fluid even during the engineering phase, so Storyblok as part of our technical solution was a perfect fit to adapt quickly with minimal effort. The editor experience for any solution and ensuring our solutions are actually a joy in the content creation process rather than a burden are top priorities for Herbert. Storyblok has worked perfectly for us as it definitely answers the need for “idiot-proof CMS” with the visual content editor.”

    Adrian Hoess

    Founder, HERBERT Digital
    Adrian Hoess

Therefore, for Sydney FC’s team, who wanted ease of use and independence, it was very beneficial to have a CMS like Storyblok. Once they were able to see and fully experience the benefits of the Visual Editor, Sydney FC was amazed. The fact that it gave them a preview of the changes they make to their new website, even before those changes go live, was a game-changer for them.

Quote from Jeremy Butler​, General Manager, Marketing @ Sydney FC

  • “We were under intense time pressure to create the relevant content for the website. We needed to tell the story of our return to the Allianz Stadium, as well as generate all the details required to create a one-stop-shop for Sydney FC supporters interested in the new stadium. The intuitive design of Storyblok was effective in allowing our content team to approach the project with minimal training. This, combined with the ability to view changes in real-time, allowed us to achieve our objective ahead of the deadline.”

    Jeremy Butler​

    General Manager, Marketing @ Sydney FC
    Jeremy Butler​

From discovery until completion, the project lasted 3 months. In only 3 months, Herbert Digital and Sydney FC were able to deliver not only a stadium website well in advance of the opening day but an extraordinary experience for members and fans that has created hype and excitement about Sydney FC’s return to their spiritual home ground. In addition, Herbert Digital was able to hand over the project to the Sydney FC team with a simple 2-hour training session.

Storyblok checks all of Herbert Digital’s boxes for a great CMS, too, in regards to pricing, the flexibility of content modeling, the ease with which one can access the APIs, the easy way in which it integrates with other technologies, and the availability of great documentation and information on how to get started and use the CMS.

Using Storyblok while working on the Sydney FC project was a pleasure, especially in those moments where being responsive to changes and updates was very important, according to Adrian Hoess, the Founder of Herbert Digital. In those cases where Herbert needed to add additional pricing or member categories, they found it very easy to adjust quickly because of the ability to create a flexible content strategy from the start. This also enabled the Sydney FC team to complete, add and change things fast and painlessly.

One of the biggest project challenges was mapping all the different seat and membership options with the questions and responses from the Experience Selector. However, with the combination of data sources and the ability to create different stories and different structures, it was easy to execute this task.

Key Takeaways

At Storyblok, we strive to create the best headless experience for our partners and clients, by making it easy and straightforward for developers and marketers to execute successful projects fast and efficiently. To do so, we have created a CMS made to fit and adapt to the technological needs of developers and the flexibility of managing content for marketers. This is exactly why Storyblok was the perfect solution for Herbert Digital and Sydney FC, as it enabled them to create not only a stadium website but an experience for their members and fans.

With the help of Storyblok, Herbert Digital was able to meet the requirements of Sydney FC for an interactive website that has built hype and excitement about Sydney FC’s return to their spiritual home ground.