Milwaukee Bucks launch Deer District website and native app experience to enhance gameday for fans

Company Size

500

Year Founded

1968

Headquarters

Milwaukee, WI

Industries

Athletics
Milwaukee Bucks logo

2.9M

App opens during NBA playoffs

106K

Engagements: NBA Finals Judo Experience

392%

Increase in site traffic YOY (2020-21)
Plan Type
Team
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Main Challenges

  • Lacked an agile, scalable content solution to support new digital platforms

  • Needed something that supported quick builds and easy onboarding

  • Required reliable delivery and strong performance with high traffic

Solutions

  • A headless content platform that streamlines integrations

  • A low code environment and content models to enhance productivity

  • Contentful’s Content Delivery API to reduce lag and downtime

Project Story

For fans of NBA team the Milwaukee Bucks, gameday doesn’t start with tip-off or end at a buzzer-beater. It is sandwiched between pre-gaming and post-gaming, two events the Bucks wanted to make communal. The team did so by introducing an entertainment district just outside of the Fiserv Forum, the Bucks’ home arena.

Aptly named Deer District, the space, which was established in 2019, has quickly become Milwaukee’s premier location for sports entertainment. The 30-acre venue is home to seven restaurants and bars, two retailers and an apartment complex. The district also hosts concerts, farmer’s markets and festivals and has plans to expand more in the coming years.

Looking to complement Deer District, the Bucks launched both a web and native app experience to bring the district to life for fans digitally. By doing so, fans can have a world-class experience on gameday with all relevant information at their fingertips. "Our business objective is to be the best sports and entertainment company in the world. We’re always trying to enhance the experiences our fans have,” said Parker Goran, Bucks digital platform manager and project lead.

A headless content platform to slam dunk scaling

Because the Deer District website began as a new project, there wasn’t a pre-existing content solution for developers to move forward with or move away from. This meant the Bucks wouldn’t be tied down by integration or migration concerns. Still, the sports team decided to consult others in the industry for a pulse check on what platforms were preferred.

Contentful came highly recommended by NBA developers who used the content platform to keep fans engaged with cutting-edge digital experiences. This solution also addressed Parker’s main requirement — that the solution be headless. Being the sole developer of the Deer District website, he knew as the district and site grew, manual integrations would create bottlenecks in the flow of information to consumers. With groundbreaking on a district hotel and corporate spaces up for rent, new integrations would be needed soon. One-off events hosted in the spaces would also demand different implementations and tools. The quickly scaling district needed a future-proof, adaptive solution. This made a content platform with a headless architecture and flexible APIs the best option.

To bring this to life in their mobile app, the Milwaukee Bucks leveraged Judo, a mobile server-driven UI platform. This tool enabled the company to build a native Deer District experience within the team app — which developers then connected to Contentful.

Today, Parker is able to adjust content and tools on an as-needed basis. “Contentful and Judo allow me to take the information and requirements shared by our events teams and structure them with various content types to create a template to use for future publishing. After that, the actual day-to-day implementation becomes easy to manage,” he shares.

An easy to learn, easy to use interface gets teams up and running quickly

With a lean development team, it was important that the solution selected for Deer District be easy to implement and learn. With documentation, demos and learning service courses, Parker was able to get Deer District’s site up and running autonomously.

“Having access to a trial version was a huge help as I could familiarize myself with the platform without committing,” said Parker. “From a cost perspective, this is a huge plus. You can set things up, gain confidence to launch a full-stack and then make a financial investment.”

While the district has grown significantly, only a small number of developers and marketers are dedicated to addressing Deer District website development and event promotion. Because Parker knew the team would likely remain lean, it was important that current employees and new hires be able to pick up the tool quickly as well. There wouldn’t be the capability to hire targeted technology experts.

With Contentful’s low/no-code environment and clean editorial interface, onboarding non-technical team members was straightforward and quick. Adopting the new technology-enhanced team productivity. Team members can now share responsibilities and feel comfortable that content creation and publishing will continue as planned even when one member of the team may be unavailable.

A reliable content delivery system to block lag and downtime now and in the future

For the Bucks, athletic victories aren’t the only performances measured. Like other teams, gameday web-app speed and reliability are important KPIs. With more than 18,000 fans populating Fiserv Forum on game day and capacity for 65,000+ more in Deer District, reliable performance and delivery can be difficult to come by. Still, Parker and his team didn’t want limited cellular connection to impact fans’ abilities to strategize where they would watch the game, dine and celebrate within the district. It was important that this information be available with speed and accuracy.

Contentful’s Content Delivery API provided the reliability and performance the Bucks were looking for. Even with recent reports of elevated Deer District website and app use, site speed hasn’t diminished. With other content solutions, the Bucks might have been charged extra hosting fees. Thanks to Contentful’s reliability, they can avoid these pitfalls and hidden fees, no matter where the future takes them.

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