Case Study

Growing grassroots and community participation

Digital transformation and a strong strategy sets the stage for long term growth and participation within the AFL Grassroots and Community network.


Company Name: Australian Football League (AFL)

The AFL had a vast network of applications and systems that served the Participation and Community network. These systems were disparate and difficult to maintain. Addressing these challenges, would provide the AFL with an opportunity to grow the participation base as well as to achieve additional revenue channels. 

Getting to know the AFL

Invented in Australia, the Australian Football League (AFL) is the leading football competition in the country. The AFL is thought to be the most popular sport in Australia, in terms of attendance, total spectatorship and number of registered players. The AFL Community Clubs are the backbone of many communities and provide opportunities for juniors right through to professionals to participate in football competitions.

A unified and integrated technology stack would enable the AFL to provide a thriving community ecosystem

The AFL had a vast network of applications and systems that served the Participation and Community network. These systems were disparate and difficult to maintain.
CluchTV Website
CluchTV Website
CluchTV Website


The user experience for Participants was disjointed, with too many separate websites to access. This fragmented digital landscape also meant that the process for data collection and management was suboptimal.

Addressing these challenges with an overhaul of the existing technology environment, would provide the AFL with an opportunity to grow the participation base as well as to achieve additional revenue channels.


This required an extensive consolidation of multiple technologies and functions. The team at LayerCake was selected to deliver this future state vision for the AFL, based on their track record of successfully transforming the digital landscape for other organisations, particularly sporting participation organisations. Prior existing knowledge and experience integrating back-end technologies for the AFL, meant that LayerCake was the trusted partner for the task at hand.

The AFL required a high-quality solution to empower internal teams to self-serve content updates without development cost, while providing a seamless user-experience. The Optimizely digital experience platform was selected to enable Content Management and the ability to incorporate multiple community websites, all while achieving data-driven confidence in the results. The new solution allowed the AFL to make use of data already existing within the network, as well as to efficiently collect data from outside the network.

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) was implemented to optimise the user journey and provide meaningful insights into the customer experience. GA4 has enabled cross-site measurement capabilities from Play.AFL through to the registration platform which is another way that the AFL is able to drive higher conversion rates in season registrations.


The new community platform creates centralised customer information, providing the AFL with intelligence that is crucial for future marketing efforts and community participation initiatives. The AFL has achieved measurable benefits across productivity, engagement and brand awareness for the community network. A summary of other gains include:  

  • Centralised, seamless solution 
  • Consolidation and upgrade of critical business systems   
  • Improvement in quality control and security  
  • Ability to aggregate, connect and activate analytics data in meaningful ways 
  • Robust analytics, data collection and integration 
  • Ability to create new content and micro-sites with ease   
  • Enhanced site performance & accessibility  
  • Reusable site features and components across the ecosystem 
  • Consistent branding and Customer Experience across channels 
  • Centralised location for AFL Club Help 
  • Enhanced club finder and search clubs to better allow users to register  
  • Ability to nurture and retain existing participants with an optimised user journey 
  • Long term growth within the Grassroots and Community ecosystem 





New Users


“My experience working with Padraig, Domenic and the entire Layercake team on the AFL Game Development digital migration project was incredibly positive.” 

“The Layercake team were wonderful partners on this project. They were incredibly professional, friendly, engaging and supportive. As technological experts, the team provided timely and relevant advice, and always went above and beyond to deliver on the requirements on time and within budget wherever possible.” 

“Working with Layercake was an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Padraig’s outstanding customer service, friendliness, coupled with the team’s professionalism made for a really enjoyable project, despite the challenges and complexities. The team were always available, were comprehensive in their project communication and were clearly experts in their field.” 

“I would highly recommend the Layercake team for any project. They truly become part of your team and take enormous pride in their work and the quality of their deliverables.”

Clare Dale

Head of Game Development Engagement, AFL

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