How UFC Uses Applications to Grow a Worldwide Audience Denim Group helps UFC® keep a sports and entertainment heavyweight on top of rapid, global expansion
Based in Las Vegas, Nevada, Zuffa, LLC is the parent company of the popular Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) mixed martial arts (MMA) competition. UFC’s rapid growth as a sports and entertainment venture and MMA fans’ demand for UFC news, multimedia and interactive content mean UFC has invested in cutting-edge Web-based applications to help run a global, 24x7x365 enterprise. Tapping the powerful flexibility of internal and public-facing apps to power sales, fan support and business management, UFC’s software strategy keeps UFC’s growing empire nimble in the face of customer demand and opportunity.
Keeping UFC in-demand everywhere
Key to the appeal of UFC is the league’s large, dynamic Web presence with content available in eight languages to-date. To further accelerate international consumption, UFC’s Web content goes from a single content management system (CMS) to 12 regional sites that allow UFC to target content to specific regions globally. However, even this impressive scale and flexibility risked falling short of optimum performance due to mounting demand for UFC content and accessibility. UFC quickly realized their Web properties would have to adjust and handle to rapidly shifting Web traffic requests, between 20 to more than 700 Web requests per second.
To meet UFC’s requirements, Denim Group architected a flexible site language and region-based system for publishing content within a revamped CMS focused on resilience with security woven throughout the package. With experience from helping to launch and support a new UFC.com site, Denim Group’s experts helped UFC boost and diversify the content on this site with a fresh CMS that could easily negotiate varying publishing schedules and dynamic traffic requests coinciding with events, news and heightened inbound requests from emerging UFC markets. To prevent delays and outages from frustrating fans and costing UFC dollars or impressions, Denim Group further developed a hybrid hosting platform for UFC’s site which is built with a combination of physical, dedicated servers and virtualized cloud servers to maximize performance and scalability to serve audiences faster in their territories.
Staging MMA matches anywhere at digital speed
UFC’s ability to rapidly stage events in a host of markets complements its brands’ immersive online presence by helping fans experience MMA action in-person, firsthand. Behind this worldwide lineup of UFC action lie complex logistics and online processes necessary for booking venues, reserving support staff and tailoring promotional content to reach fans online. It quickly became apparent that the pace of UFC events threatened to saturate the company’s applications and their ability to keep pace with worldwide demand.
Assessing UFC’s requirements for keeping its events frequency and buzz around the world, Denim Group’s experts determined UFC’s application performance and business growth objectives would be best met with a secure custom software solution. The Denim Group team interviewed UFC’s business stakeholders to hone-in on requirements and built a scalable, centralized set of Web applications accommodating different employees’ diverse, mission-critical tasks and roles. As with the single sign-on ease of use for fans at UFC.com, an SSO was deployed for UFC’s internal enterprise apps to eliminate mis-configured security settings and password usability problems. Moreover, Denim Group’s team developed the initial business Web apps rapidly and added iterative features and enhancements based on real-time feedback from users, preventing downtime or deferred return on investment (ROI) often associated with end-to-end business software projects.
Combining UFC.com’s new website, upgraded CMS, and enhanced web applications with the company’s existing Cervello Suite business software, Denim Group’s team helped UFC wring greater performance from its existing IT investments. A central authentication service implementation with Cervello served as a foundation to wrap consistent security safeguards around newly expanded features. Select specialized apps for the press portal and video content metadata publishing system were also added.
Taking productivity and convenience a step further, Denim Group also developed a secure iOS app for UFC employees relying on iPhones and iPads to work on the fly from anywhere. The mobile app allows employees and business unit leaders to access and use company data as needed for up-to-the-minute forecasting and decision-making, with the confidence that strong security measures mitigated the risk of data loss or theft.
Solid foundations power the future
UFC’s operation typifies the kinds of disruptive businesses gaining worldwide followers and profits by turning to the Web to literally empower every facet of their business – from how employees communicate to converting casual UFC followers into committed fan communities living and promoting the brand. Key to this success is having foresight to realize that Web-based systems’ growth requires continuous creative and protective oversight to ensure new opportunities are tapped, new requirements are met and that strong security follows sensitive information and IT assets at every turn. At a time when it has never been easier to become a new sports and entertainment champion thanks to technology, Denim Group’s experts use their experience and secure software development skills to help businesses train for the toughest security matches and ward off persistent risks.