Tech meets Soccer

I love what Dennis Crowley is doing in Kingston NY. He is bringing the mentality of a tech start up to the soccer world with Kingston Stockade. It is fascinating to watch as he goes through the process of building a Club, and I love that he is sharing all of his lessons along the way.


MLS Apple Watch App

This week Apple held their annual iPhone & Watch keynote. It was great to have MLS included as a small part of the festivities. Be sure to check out our new Watch applications for iOS and Tag connected watches later this fall.

Fast Company profiles MLS Digital

Fast Company recently profiled MLS Digital's activations at the 2016 MLS All-Star Game in San Jose. 

My favorite bit from the article:

"Each year, the MLS All-Star Game pits a selection of the best Major League Soccer players against a high-profile club from overseas. Billed as the battle between north London and North America, this year's game brought over Arsenal of the Premier League, but the game has become almost incidental now to the hive of activity and incredible buildup created to heighten overall awareness and excitement around soccer in North America.

But this isn’t some naive marketing exercise for an audience who are less knowledgeable about the sport. On the contrary, what we saw was a refreshingly innovative, transparent, fun approach to brand, talent, marketing, and sporting occasion, from which the U.K. in particular should sit up and take note."

Go read the entire article here

SBJ Forty Under 40

What an honor to be selected as a member of Sports Business Journal's 40 Under 40 for 2016. I am very thankful and humbled to be part of such an incredible group of talented sports executives. I am lucky to be part of special team at MLS Digital. It is so much fun to work alongside such an inspiring group of people all focused on creating innovative experiences for soccer fans in North America

Building a next generation CMS for MLS fans

This week MLS Digital finished migrating 20 Club sites plus to an all new fully responsive web system. This new system is a huge step forward for MLS fans, and for the League's digital business.

The new system was built for the future of digital fandom. Over 60% of MLS content consumption now happens on a mobile phone so we designed the system starting with phones in mind. Gone are the old m. sites replaced by a single site that automatically scales to fit the size of your screen. This allows our editors to manage one site, but ensure the content will look great on any sized screen. We also invested in HTML5 video technology to ensure our video content would work seamlessly across any device.

We also had to build a system that would serve 21 different brands, this is always a challenge as every Club wants their site to reflect their individual values, goals and content. Our solution was the build a system rather than 21 sites. This allowed us to create a flexible system of modules that can be placed in different combinations to provide Clubs with different looks and capabilities. This also allows us to efficiently continue to add new features and functionality going forward as we can develop new modules that are available for all 21 sites. We then turned the system over to our Clubs and asked them to arrange the modules as they saw fit. One of the other key things we created as part of the system are content buckets that can scale from 1-4 pieces of content automatically. This allows our editors great flexibility to adjust the look of our sites, as well as the content available for fans in real time without the need for developers to make any changes. This is key, the more power we can put in the hands of our editors and club services team the better as this frees our engineering teams up to continue creating new or improved experiences rather than constantly having to tweak existing sites.

Finally we moved all of our hosting operations to the cloud, and specifically to AWS. This allows us to run at a significant savings to our old physical servers, it also allows our web operations to be significantly more scalable. One of the very cool engineering pieces we added in the migration was the ability for our system to auto-scale. This means that as our traffic spikes (And sports traffic in general is very spiky) our system responds by automatically adding server instances to our cloud. Similarly as traffic dies off, we kill servers. This ensures that we can serve our fans without having to always carry a peak level of capacity, this saves us significant money.

The initial results have been impressive, the sites have led to increases in traffic and on the League site a 50% increase in videos viewed per user. Importantly this is just the beginning, our teams will continue to evolve the system with new features and functionality for our fans.

Five things I love about the new

Yesterday my team at MLS Digital launched an all new, fully responsive version of This is the latest is a series of launches for the team as 13 of the 20 MLS Clubs are already on this new platform (The rest will move before the end of the year). The entire platform is a big step up from previous versions, especially if you are on a mobile device. As you explore the new system here are some of the best features of the new system that you may have missed.

  1. Playoff Scenarios - Follow live as the the teams battle for playoff positioning over the last several weeks of the MLS season
  2. Live Standings - Is your favorite team in or out of the MLS Playoffs? Only one way to find out with up to the minute updates from around the League
  3. All New Stats Page - Fully redesigned display of League leaders
  4. Endless Scrolling News Page - No more having to page through page after page, get caught up on all of the latest MLS news
  5. Highlights - Easily find all of the latest highlights in one place

In addition to fan facing innovations, a ton of work went into an all new site infrastructure. As part of the roll out we moved the system from physical servers to the AWS Cloud. We also created an auto-scaling infrastructure that allows us to better manage the inevitable traffic spikes that come with live sports. For insights into the work that went into the infrastructure check out this article from last year that explains some of the building blocks of the system.

I am really proud of the team, over the last year we have created an all new product team led by MLS' new VP of Digital Products Samir Gole, Director of Engineering Brian Aznar and Director of Products Wade Anderson. This was the first major League release for the new crew and it is super exciting to see the team coming together around a major system upgrade.

Finally we will continue adding new features to the system over the coming weeks and months. As a sneak peak here is a little something we are playing with.