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The Draft Network: A scalable, secure website that puts NFL fans in the front office

The NFL Draft is big business — and a big deal for American football fans across the globe. ArcTouch teamed up with The Draft Network (TDN) to build a scalable and secure new website that offers the latest NFL and college football news. Football fans can sign up and create their own mock drafts — choosing players to add to their favorite NFL teams. With TDN, it’s draft day, every day.

The Draft Network website screenshots with a player and football

“ArcTouch’s ability to deliver a premium product while helping us to build a secure, stable, and scalable infrastructure to support it was paramount to our success during the 2020 NFL Draft.”
— Paige Dimakos, COO, The Draft Network

The Draft Network website offense and defense football players
The Draft Network mock draft screenshot

Challenge

The Draft Network started in 2018 and quickly built a strong following of NFL and college football fans. They feature a mix of compelling articles, podcasts, and videos from leading football experts — focused mostly on top collegiate talent and the annual NFL Draft. The “Mock Draft Machine” allows fans to create their own mock drafts leading up to the NFL Draft, which draws millions of TV viewers every year.

As the 2019 NFL season played out, TDN began planning the next phase of its growth. The company needed a monetization strategy to build revenue and ensure long-term success. And it would need a robust web infrastructure to support continued rapid subscriber growth and millions of page views per month. It also needed DevOps infrastructure to support continuous and rapid product improvement, especially leading up to and during the NFL Draft.

Solution

In 2019, TDN drafted ArcTouch to build out a second-generation website. The game plan was to implement all new features and supporting infrastructure in advance of the 2020 NFL Draft, held in April.

New features included a premium subscription, which provided TDN its first source of revenue. The premium subscription provides access to exclusive content and draft guides, and a private forum to share ideas with other experts. It also allows draft picks to be traded through the Mock Draft Machine.

The new site also supported advertising for the first time, providing a second source of revenue for the business. And during the course of development, many other incremental improvements were made to offer football fans a winning experience.

In addition to full-stack development, QA testing, project management, and product management, ArcTouch provided DevOps engineering services to build an all-new scalable site infrastructure. Key elements of the site infrastructure are explained in this blog post about DevOps for The Draft Network.

ROI

  • TDN daily traffic more than doubled during the NFL Draft in April 2020. Monthly page views in April surged 211% year-over-year — and the site infrastructure easily handled the demand.
  • Revenue from premium subscriptions and advertisements has grown steadily since the features were launched in January 2020.
  • The client is exceptionally happy — as ArcTouch continues to manage the site while TDN continues to grow. A TDN exec recently emailed, “We feel like you guys are TDN.”