University Web Developers

University Web Developers

Athletics wants their own site. Should I cut them loose?

I'm in a bit of a conundrum and I'm looking for a little advice...

Here's the deal, we redesigned our site roughly a year-and-a-half ago and included athletics on that redesign. The SID at the time was named a stakeholder in the redesign group due to the fact that athletics is one of our top destinations. The SID was fairly uninterested in the whole process and basically checked out.

Now they're knocking on the door saying that they're unhappy with the design and they want something different. They're looking for something more in line with a fan site (think ESPN.com ish).

They ventured on their own and found a vendor who would build their ESPN-like site with a different CMS than what we're using for the public site. Here's the coup, they want us (marketing) to pay for it!

Side note: The SID isn't a gifted writer and is relatively inexperienced when it comes to the Web.

Questions: 1. Have you experienced this in your organization?

2. Did you pay for it?

3. If athletics paid for it, did you provide support?

4. Do you know of any "athletics" site vendors?

If you have any insight to share in this please do so.
Thanks - Cliff

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We did an entirely different look and feel for our Athletics site, yet we kept it within our "domain".

We have been talking about providing an "Athletics-geared" CMS site for quite some time now, but it's all been just talk.

In that time, we've discovered three vendors who do specifically what you're asking (the ESPN.com look/feel).

Those Athletics CMS vendors are: ICS Sidearm, CSTV (a part of CBS Sports) and JumpTV.

ICS Sidearm (last time I checked) was about $4500 or so per year, and had built in databases to manage player rosters, statistics (team and player), player profiles, team schedules and more, and contributing into. to the site by coaches involved filling in provided fields (fairly simple).
Departments often want to do their own thing, but if you are responsible for maintaining a consistent brand identity for the university I'd advice against it. If they feel a need to incorporate certain features in the site, then I'd work with them to see how you might accommodate their needs in a way that still supports your overall image.

Frankly I think it takes a lot of chutzpah for them to both ask for an exception and ask you to pay for it. Especially when they had an earlier opportunity to provide input. I'd try to find out more. Have them write up a detailed case study on why the current site isn't serving their needs while describing what would. This should clearly describe their goals and user needs and include real data. If they can make a legitimate case for change, rather than just having some random desire to look like ESPN, then work with them. If they just think they're site could be cooler, then that's not a good reason.
1. Yes

2. Nope, they paid for it, since they wanted something different it came out of their own pockets. Now they're tired of it and want something for less money.

3. Unfortunately, yes.

4. Yes, but they're all overpriced. I'd recommend not going with JumpTV.

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