Premier Boxing Champions

Giving Boxing Back to Fighters and Fans

For the past 25 years, boxing has fallen into disfavor with sports fans. Cable's pay-per-view fights are expensive and for many new fans simply cost-prohibitive. The sport has suffered from perceptions of manipulation and poor fighting quality. Lastly, and perhaps most crucially, boxing has seen increasing competition from newer, more accessible sports like Ultimate Fighting and Bellator.

Haymon Boxing has a vision. They want to give boxing back to as many fans as possible through prime-time television and digital channels with their new Premier Boxing Champions brand. They tapped MCD to design and build the digital experience that fans can use whether they are in the arena with a smartphone, watching from home on TV, with a tablet, or even sneaking a peek from their desktop computer at work.

Sprinting to the Main Event

To meet Haymon's goal of launching the site within six months with a broad media campaign of press, television and social media we dedicated a cross-functional team and used an agile methodology.

They key to working agile is close team collaboration and our team members were located in New York, Chicago and Mumbai, while our Haymon Boxing team members were in London and, of course, Las Vegas. So we put together a robust online toolkit in which everyone could get real-time updates and the status of work in progress without the need for reams of documentation and specifications.

Las Vegas, Chicago, New York, London and Mumbai are dotted on a map
  • Las Vegas
  • Chicago
  • New York
  • london
  • Mumbai
    GMT +5½

To build smart and ship fast, we presented tested working code in two week sprints on actual devices, from mobile to desktop. Each sprint involved setting a goal and agreeing on the work to complete, concepting, architecting, designing, coding and testing.

Early sprints were low fidelity to focus on the user experience and architecture with high fidelity coming in later sprints. Real-time feedback from Haymon Boxing on each sprint was essential in launching the site with the campaign in only 12 sprints.

Sprint 1
Low-fidelity wireframes at an early stage of Sprint one
Sprint 2
Sprint two has slightly more fidelity of gray wireframes
Sprint 5
Sprint five moved onto using color images in a high-fidelity mock-up
Sprint 11
Sprint eleven is a high-fidelity mock-up of what the finished product should be

While at project start we met with fighters and fans for insight in how they engage with boxing throughout the project we got working code in their hands in one-on-one sessions for true user feedback.

A group of developers and boxing fans sit around the table


Actor & Web Designer

65 years old; boxing fan for 12 years

In and out of gyms, currenly at Mendes

Favorite boxers: Muhammad Ali, Floyd Mayweather, Tommy Hearns


Commercials at FOX

Avid fan since childhood; dad was a fan

Favorite boxer:
Sergio Martinez


Actor & Standup Comedian

Likes boxing, martial arts, MMA

Favorite boxer:
Floyd Mayweather


Amateur Boxer

Boxing for 3 years at Church Street Gym

Roommate is MMA Fighter

Favorite Boxer:
Floyd Mayweather


Mental Health Counselor

Boxing fan since the 80s

Favorite boxers:
Tommy Hearns,
Ruselin Sabarakov

Every Fan Gets in the Ring

To keep fans connected with their favorite fighters we envisioned a site with rich fighter biographies, extensive news, exclusive videos and video playlists. We made fight schedules available right in their calendars, and provided email updates on fights.

After locking down requirements, we added videos to the site with Ooyala, email subscriptions through MailChimp and, after launch, Salesforce's ExactTarget.

Also, we ensured every fan possible could use the site by designing, coding and testing it in accordance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). In the site's first year, fans watched 178k videos, 31k signed up for email updates and 40k subscribed for calendar updates.

A computer screen with video page and an iphone screen with a sign-up form


videos watched


email sign-ups


calendar subscriptions

Fan Energy Builds Brand Momentum

For fans to stay connected with Premier Boxing Champions we made finding and sharing fighter and fight info easy. We integrated fighter stats and fight history with an API from BoxRec and augmented with Premier Boxing Champions data. With SEO essential to every MCD digital experience, we included structured markup with microdata, as defined by This gets fans accurate boxing info right when they search, whether on Google, Bing, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. And when fans get excited by what they find, sharing is available for every fight, fighter, boxing news and boxing video. As of April 2016, fans shared more than 14K times.

Google, Bing, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube Logos Boxer, Keith Thurman, profile page on computer screen

High Definition and Device Independence

Dedicated to present the highest quality images and video possible given a fan’s device and connection we configured Ooyala to present an appropriate video stream and scripted custom code to present suitable images. Mobile is 70% of the site’s traffic, and we wanted to take advantage of showing high definition images on retina devices when appropriate.

Boxing fight highlights and fight recap on iphone screen Fight preview listing on iphone screen Boxer, Keith Thurman profile on iphone screen Boxing videos listings on iphone screen

Performance Isn’t Only Crucial to the Sweet Science

With performance critical to the user experience and SEO, MCD architected and built a technical infrastructure comprised of a Drupal content management system (CMS) with rich content authoring tools on Pantheon’s scalable cloud-based multi-dev site management platform with Akamai’s content delivery network (CDN).

We applied clean, semantic HTML5 markup, which requires minimal external assets, loaded in a non-blocking way to ensure fast page speeds and rendering. To further optimize performance, we concatenated and minified code, enabled lossless image compression, and delivered static assets through the Akamai CDN. As of April 2016, the site was performant for more than six million visitors. We continue to work as a day-to-day partner with Haymon Boxing in optimizing the customer experience.

Visit Premier Boxing Champions at


unique visitors

Throughout the design process the team worked with intelligence, insight and agility in accommodating evolving needs. The quality of the code, thoroughness of testing and overall site performance are extremely impressive. It’s a rare thing to work with a team so committed to understanding the brief and navigating complexities to deliver great work.
Morag Reavley
Morag Reavley
Head of Digital, Haymon Boxing