A digital transformation for the official home of AFL Photos

Capturing the moments that tell the real stories of the great game.


Company Name: Australian Football League (AFL)

The AFL Photos team provides the most comprehensive photographic coverage of Australian Rules Football in Australia. Layercake was engaged to review current Photos operations and systems, recommending a solution that reduced technology debt, complexity, risk, leveraging new technology aligning to AFL’s Technology strategic direction. 


The AFL Photos team provides the most comprehensive photographic coverage of Australian Rules Football in Australia. With an in-house team of photographers and support staff, the Photos platform covers all aspects of the AFL and AFLW competitions for a multitude of clients, internal and external across marketing and branding as well as commercial and editorial. This includes match day and game coverage, media opportunities and special events.


As a trusted partner to the AFL and with a proven history of delivering similar solutions, Layercake was engaged to review current Photos operations and systems, recommending a solution that reduced technology debt, complexity, risk, leveraging new technology aligning to AFL’s Technology strategic direction.


With an exponentially growing repository of over 1 million media assets, the original AFL Photos website had become difficult to maintain, support and manage.

The system was disparate and becoming incompatible with other technology being used by the AFL and its partners. This created a significant amount of technical debt and became a costly barrier to the efficient operation of the Photos website. The system was also misaligned to the strategic direction of AFL Technology, towards cloud solutions

A future-proof solution aligned to AFL Technology strategy was required to reduce the risks associated with using outdated technology. It would need to support the AFL and partner Photographers in their ability to capture, deliver and publish more photos, faster and seamlessly. The website would need to provide the AFL, its subscribers and fans with easy gallery categorisation and management, enriched photo information, rich functionality, ease of use and fast access to the vast collection of images.

To embark on this successful digital transformation journey, AFL first needed to understand the underlying legacy technology, including user roles and functionality.


From legacy system to digital transformation

After a thorough and considered audit of the existing system, Layercake set out to transform the technology underpinning the Photos website. To do this Layercake proposed to take advantage of the Cloud hosted Dalet Flex platform, a technology that was already being used by the AFL for their master video assets. This approach was a sustainable way forward, remediating the silo and technical debt that had emerged from using disparate and outdated technology. The solution removed reliance on legacy 3rd party systems, streamlined workflows, while providing strategic integration with AFL ID the single sign-in technology that caters for staff and public users.

The Layercake team seamlessly managed the transition and migration of 1+ million existing data and image assets across to the Dalet Flex platform. This included data transformation to cater for not only the new website, but also for reporting and search functionality.

“The migration and transformation of over one million, high-resolution photos and associated metadata was a monumental task which would usually have been fraught with challenges. However, Layercake expertly navigated the process.”
Monica Forlano

Head of AFL Studios, Layercake

These image assets and the metadata associated with them were then brought to life with Mediacake, Layercake’s flagship media management and display product. Mediacake provides an updated portal in the cloud and a user interface which provides an empowered experience for AFL staff, fulfillment partners, subscribers and public/fan users. Mediacake delivered enhanced functionality for the AFL including:

AFL ID integration – with Staff and Fan/public AFL ID integrated allowing users to create an AFL ID or add the AFL Photos portal to their AFL ID’s portfolio of AFL products

Improved management of Galleries and categorisation of photos on the website

The utilisation of API’s to create photo galleries and integrate with Flex, Telstra Systems, payment systems and cloud accounts

Transformation functionality that enables Getty and AFL to receive, deliver and publish shared AFL photos and distribute out to partners

Extensive management functionality including AFL subscribers, order fulfillment, user permissions and roles, photo downloading and advanced reporting

Mediacake has digitally transformed AFL Photos for the future, giving them us ability to scale, and expand our offering.”

Monica Forlano,

Head of AFL Studios

“A close and trusted partnership between the AFL and Layercake was fundamental to digital transformation success. The AFL and Layercake shared a customer-centric focus. This, together with a sensible solution design, the use of leading-edge technologies in Mediacake and Flex Dalet enabled operational resilience and cost efficiency for the AFL.”

Quanah McBride

Director, Layercake


Maximising the power of collaboration to deliver real value

The AFL has achieved an elevated user experience for internal brand and marketing teams, clubs, rights holders and media and commercial partners.

– Supports AFL ID (SSO)

– Fully supported, cloud hosted, centralised, solution

– Technical debt relieved

– Improved user interface and user experience

– Enhanced functionality

– Improved reporting

– Improvement in quality control and security

– Faster publishing and response time

– Brand integrity upheld with consistency across channels

– Future-proof: transitioned to cloud and removed reliance on 3rd party legacy systems

– Decreased operational overheads

– Solution aligned to AFL Technology Strategy


“Layercake’s media and sport league experience was behind the decision to engage them on this important and complex project for the AFL. Quanah, Padraig and Domenic were professional in their communications with the team and understood the importance of maintaining delivery standards while we were in transition to the new platform. We are delighted with the UX design and that the project came in on time and budget.” Monica Forlano, Head of AFL Studios.

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