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AZ Alkmaar Boosting fan engagement by highlighting today's and tomorrow's football stars.

3D content Backend development Design Development Frontend development UX design

AZ is a Dutch football club that shapes the next generation of football. The club is internationally recognized for its excellent youth academy and its rich history, which is characterized by a winning culture. AZ reached out for a complete website redesign to share its vision and create a more sustainable relationship with its fans.

Sustainable fan relationship

When stepping into a football stadium, one encounters a diverse range of supporters, from passionate fans who sing for their team throughout the match to families who view football as an opportunity to create lasting memories. In line with its commitment to success both on and off the pitch, AZ sought a digital partner to help serve its diverse target group. After reviewing various pitches, AZ decided that The Valley's CX (Customer Experience) approach not only aligned with the club's ambitions but also provided the necessary expertise to realize its vision of the ultimate fan experience. We've successfully implemented such a fan experience before together with FC Utrecht.

The Goal: Develop a future-ready digital platform that secures a sustainable relationship between (potential) fans and AZ.

We focus on the future of football

The strategy to engage fans on the new platform was based on the following two important insights:

  • In football, there's a growing trend of fans supporting not only a specific club but also individual players. They closely monitor these players' careers and cheer for the teams they represent, fascinated by their influence on and off the field.
  • AZ is internationally known for having the world's best youth academy in football.

Combining these two elements clearly defines the brand's essence: AZ shapes the next generation of football. Consequently, a greater focus will be on the next wave of football talent, leading to a stronger relationship between AZ and its fans.

Follow the players & highlight the youth academy 

The new AZ website needed to align with the strategy to achieve greater fan engagement. Therefore, it was prominently featured in three key areas.

  1. Users can view the career stories and real-time statistics of players from the first AZ team on their respective player pages. These statistics are automatically updated in real-time.
  2. The youth academy is prominently shown on the website, showcasing its vision and way of working through text and visuals. 
  3. In the Inside AZ section, fans can discover the most recent updates about AZ and its players across the different teams, including news about former players.

User Experience

The website is divided into three main sub-parts: the main AZ website, the business club section, and the webshop. Each sub-part features unique colors for distinction. Despite the varying colors, consistency is maintained in various ways, such as by employing the same components throughout all sub-parts.

AZ's current visual style was further developed to adapt it to the digital world. This process included expanding the color palette and refining typography. 

Several other efforts were made to enhance the visual style. The first effort involved aligning the photography with the club's strategy, aiming to capture the emotions of individual players in a cinematic manner. This approach was intended to strengthen the emotional bond with the fans. Also, a pattern inspired by goal netting was incorporated into the visual style, and beautiful micro-interactions were developed to enhance brand recognition and trigger engagement.

A future proof fanshop

A football club's webshop is driven by emotions, as it's the place where supporters can purchase a tangible piece of their club. To enhance the experience on the AZ webshop, products are displayed in 3D, enabling customers to interact with the items themselves, developed in collaboration with our 3D partner, 270 Degrees.

Also, the webshop's backend is connected in real-time with AZ's inventory management system, ensuring that the products and prices displayed are both available and up to date.

Building towards customer intimacy

To simplify engagement, a single sign-on system is introduced, enabling fans to use one account for all interactions with the club. Our CDP, Nominow, seamlessly integrates with the AZ website and other key systems, managing real-time data to enhance the club's systems through a unified customer profile. This integration not only facilitates single sign-on but also enables intimacy and personalization in the future.

Next steps

Launching the new AZ website is the first step in establishing an even stronger bond with fans. But our collaboration with AZ continues. Plans for phase two are underway to enhance fan engagement further and strengthen AZ's position in shaping the next generation of football.