Austadiums adapts for sports during pandemic

2020 has brought many unprecedented challenges and the sporting landscape has never looked so different. The Austadiums website has continued to evolve during this period to remain a step ahead.

Read on to see how we’ve dealt with changing sports fixtures, including cancelled/postponed events and events played behind closed doors (and now restricted capacity), as well as ongoing overhaul of the site, which recently hit an exciting milestone.

As well as being the number one source for stadium info, Austadiums is also the number one source for sports fixtures – listing all the events that matter in one place along with venue info, seating maps, tickets and much more – and until March 2020, things were simple: an event was scheduled, fans turned up, and the match was played and won (or drawn).

As the carpet was pulled from under feet of Australia’s sporting landscape, a number of changes were quickly made on Austadiums to help sports fans understand what was happening.

Tags were added to events – P for postponed and C for cancelled – both in event listings and also on individual event pages. Events played behind closed doors were marked as ‘Event closed to public’ where the ticket link would usually appear, and following the event, ‘Closed Event’ would display instead of the crowd figure.

As time progressed and events were rescheduled, fixtures were continually updated on the site and when crowds were allowed back in, albeit at reduced capacity, ticket links returned but these events are marked as ‘Restricted capacity’ next to the crowd figure, also to ensure we recognise this in the future when undertaking further crowd attendance analysis.

We’ve also taken the opportunity to fast-track some ongoing improvements to the site and introduce some great new features which are now available.

The site is now fully-responsive, meaning you’ll see the same website if you access it from a desktop/laptop, tablet or mobile device. In short, you now get a heap more features when accessing it from your mobile (which most people use to visit the site). The former mobile site is still available via the Austadiums Mobile Web App, which can be installed on iOS or Android devices, and is now dedicated as an App (with further changes to come).

As part of making the site responsive, it has essentially been completely re-done, throwing out the old code from years ago and bringing in the new. The result is a much faster site for our visitors and an improved experience for all. The responsive project was a big one, particularly in the stadiums and sports sections – check them out including the new sub-navigation.

The final piece of the jigsaw was last week when the first version of the new homepage launched. It’s cleaner and features a sports events carousel across the top. The homepage will continue to evolve so stay tuned.

The new Austadiums homepage

We also introduced the new sports fixture page which has proved to be hugely popular. Previously, you could only view simple lists of upcoming and recent events either by sport or stadium. You can now browse full fixtures for all the major sports leagues right back to 2003 and click through to get the event info, including results and attendances. See the AFL Fixture here.

We’ve also improved the photos page within each stadium (1300+ images available), re-introduced the contribute hub, upgraded the forum, enhanced sports news, made some big improvements to the ‘back-end’ and admin of the site, and not to mention added and updated a heap of stadium listings – there are now 529 stadiums listed on the site!

While traffic was lean when sport came to a grinding halt, the events have returned, fans are now back in stadiums and as a result, traffic is again booming on Austadiums and engagement is at an all-time high.

We’d love to hear your feedback – tell us what you love, hate or would like to see in the future – contact the Austadiums team here.