11 Famous Sports Teams and Athletes Using WordPress to Power Their Websites

From communicating with fans and followers to attracting new players, members, and sponsors — a team website is an important tool that fulfills many functions.

Luckily, over time it has become much easier to create your own, thanks to new services and software solutions like WordPress.

However, because WordPress is free and open source, a lot of people might be unsure whether it’s really the right platform for them.

After all, can an unpaid solution really be the best option? Wasn’t WordPress developed for blogging? How then can you use it to build a professionally designed team website?

Thankfully, addressing these questions and doubts is pretty easy, not only because WordPress is by now being used by literally millions of people to power their websites.

More importantly, we can see an impressive array of famous sports teams and athletes who also rely on WordPress to power their online presences — with awesome results!

So, in this article we will look at the sports stars that have turned to WordPress for their own websites and take a closer look at the sites they have created including some of the technology behind them.

Seeing how professional athletes and sports teams are doing in this area will help you understand what it takes to create a good sports team website and what they are using to make it work.

You will also see that even though these people command bigger budgets and teams, their websites often leave some things to be desired and you can, in fact, best them in many ways.

Either way, the analysis below will hopefully inspire you to get cracking on your own sports team website so that others can admire it.

Are you ready for this? Then let’s get going, shall we?

Sports Teams and Athletes Using WordPress

As you will soon see, the list of WordPress users includes a number of world-famous and very successful sports figures. Prepare to be baffled!

1. Usain Bolt

On the off chance that you haven’t heard of him, Usain Bolt is an international sprint star, holder of three world records and currently the fastest man in the world.

Another addition to his personality profile is that he appears to be a WordPress user.

His website, which is running on a custom theme named Bolt (what else?), features a slick full-screen background slider, Pinterest-like card layouts for all featured media and loads of JavaScript.

Plus, a look into the source code reveals mentions of the WP REST API, which might be how his Facebook feed has been integrated so well.

Apart from that, the site relies on the Advanced Custom Fields plugin for its architecture and W3 Total Cache to make it as fast as the owner.

(By the way, if you are looking for more useful WordPress plugins for sports team websites, check out our article on that very topic!)

2. Serena Williams

As the reigning world champion of women’s tennis, Serena Williams probably needs no introduction. After all, she is widely regarded to be the greatest female tennis player of all time.

Williams’ website offers a glimpse into the future of WordPress since it appears to run a JavaScript front end with WordPress taking care of the background. We will likely see a lot more sites like this in the future.

Her web presence also features beautiful typography on its about page and a nicely designed trophy case image.

One flaw, however, is the site’s limited mobile capabilities. In a time where in many parts of the world online traffic from phones and tables is eclipsing that of desktop computers, it’s surprising to see Ms. Williams’ site is lacking in this area.

However, as we will see, her site is not the only one that could use some improvements in the mobile department.

(Just FYI, if you want to build a sports team website that also looks great on mobile, we take great pains to make sure all of our WordPress themes look perfect no matter what device they are being viewed on.)

3. Garry Kasparov

Garry Kasparov is a chess grandmaster and former world chess champion. Many consider him to be the greatest chess player of all time.

Kasparov was also the first world champion to lose to a computer, IBM’s Deep Blue and today is a high-profile political activist and writer.

His website features a cool timeline that shows important stages of Garry Kasparov’s career as well as nicely integrated social feeds. The site also includes his blog, which is no surprise since it is based on WordPress.

Longtime users of the platform will also recognize the plugins found on Kasparov’s site, which include MailChimp, Akismet, Breadcrumb NavXT and Black Studio TinyMCE Widget.

While the site is generally mobile optimized, the mobile user experience could definitely be improved.

4. Charles Barkley

Named one of the 50 greatest players in the NBA, Charles Barkley is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame and a two-time competitor in the Olympic games.

Now an analyst for Inside the NBA, his web presence has been active since 2011 and is hosted on WordPress.com VIP.

The site features a fixed navigation, is dominated by a slightly monochrome color scheme and comes with an extensive video archive.

Overall, it could use some updating, especially since it’s not responsive. That, plus the small font (which turned me off from reading the bio) makes it no longer up to current design standards.

However, it’s good to see that Sir Charles is still at it and has found a second career in show business.

5. Tony Hawk

There is no other way to put it: Tony Hawk is a legend.

After turning pro at the tender age of 14, he has become one of the most successful, influential and most recognized names in skateboarding.

The first documented 900 (that’s 2.5 rotations on a skateboard in the air) is only one of his many accomplishments and a feat he could still perform at 43 years old!

Plus, Hawk has his own line of video games which probably doesn’t hurt his reputation either.

One of the first things I noticed on the Birdman’s website is that he keeps it pretty old school with a no-frills design and, unfortunately, no mobile option.

While a legend like him can get away with it, an update in this area wouldn’t hurt.

Yet, what I like about the site is how it seamlessly integrates many different media streams including Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

Also, users of NextGen Gallery can rest easy knowing that Tony Hawk runs the plugin on his website.

6. Sean O’Brien

Sean O’Brien is a professional windsurfer from Australia and seven-times Australian champion who ranked 7th in the windsurfing world championship in 2012.

Besides his personal website, he also runs a blog on high performance windsurfing and has published an ebook on fitness for windsurfing together with his trainer.

Seeing that O’Brien works in digital media design, it’s no wonder that his website is top notch with parallax scrolling, lots of Javascript and stunning images that open in a lightbox.

A site that perfectly adapts to mobile screen sizes, beautiful typography, animations and a ton of elegant details round off the excellent user experience.

Plus it has familiar names like Contact Form 7 and Yoast SEO under the hood and you can’t really go wrong with those.

7. Chicago Bulls

Not only do NBA players rely on WordPress to power their personal websites, entire teams do too.

With six NBA championships between 1991 and 1998, the Chicago Bulls’ heyday is a little past but they are still a well-recognized name in basketball.

Former team members like Michael Jordan, who many see as the greatest player of all time, and other Hall of Fame members are part of the reason for that.

While the official Bulls’ website is not based on WordPress, their blogs are. Fans can choose from many different topics, including roster, news, team and team schedule.

(By the way, if you would like to include a team schedule on your site, check out SportsPress!)

My favorite part of the site is the history section. Large images, subtle animations and a slide-in menu — a truly beautiful experience.

To run their blog network, the Bulls rely on plugins like Easy Table, WP-Paginate, Yoast SEO, W3 Total Cache, UpdraftPlus and more.

8. Andy Murray

Scottish professional tennis player Andy Murray can already look back on an impressive career. After turning pro at age 16, he is currently ranking second in the world and is also the reigning Olympic tennis champion.

With Murray we also finally have someone whose web agency did a good job optimizing their client’s site for mobile devices — the image-dominated website scales beautifully down for smaller screens. Fans who use mobile devices to find out more about him will be delighted!

Another one of my favorite parts is the news section blog loop design. It breaks away from the classic alignment of image, title and content by placing them side by side instead of on top of one another.

In combination with an elegant typeface, subtle transitions when hovering over news items and low-key colors this results in a truly well-done page. Looks great on mobile, too!

Under the hood, the site runs on a lot of JavaScript and custom code, I could not find traces of any well-known WordPress plugins.

9. Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks, team of Internet entrepreneur Marc Cuban, hold the record for most consecutive sold out games in North American league sport.

They are also the home of Dirk Nowitzki, who is considered to be one of the greatest power forwards in basketball history.

The Mavericks’ homepage features a large full-screen slider and scales nicely for smaller screen sizes. It also takes advantage of WordPress’ blogging capabilities for the news feed and comes with a good-looking photo gallery.

In the background, the site relies on Related Posts by Zemanta, Jetpack, RICG Responsive Images and Yoast SEO.

10. Maria Sharapova

With Maria Sharapova we find another professional women’s tennis champion on the list of WordPress users. After she turned pro at age 14, Sharapova is by now an Olympic medalist and currently ranked 6th in the world.

Considered to be one of the best the sport has ever seen, her website is also one of the best we have looked at so far.

Very dynamic and colorful, the site is dominated by image sliders and beautifully integrated social streams together with a fold-out menu.

What’s also remarkable is that all web pages appear on click without any visible site reloads, making it seem like you are using an application rather than a website.

In the back, All-in-one SEO Pack makes sure Maria Sharapova ranks first for her own name, Akismet keeps her (probably considerable) spam at bay while Advanced Custom Fields has much to do with the underlying architecture.

11. Steve Blake

Steve Blake, is our second NBA player on the list. After playing for a number of different teams throughout his career, he is now a household name at the Detroit Pistons.

Before that, Blake played many of his almost one thousand games for the L.A. Lakers.

Unfortunately, I can’t say too much about his web presence since the site has been down for maintenance for a while, leaving us only with a “coming soon” screen.

While I am not sure this is intentional here, if you ever need to put your own site under construction, you can choose from a number of high-quality plugins to let your visitors know you will be back for them soon:

As for Steve Blake’s site, they are using the Theme Fuse Maintenance Mode plugin. Jetpack and Fast Secure Contact Form can also be found on there.

Are You Ready to Start Your Own Website?

Because WordPress is completely free, some people still have difficulties taking it seriously for professional purposes, including in sports and athletics.

However, thinking like this disregards the fact that open source software by now rules much of the online world.

As the examples above show, more and more world-famous professional athletes seem to realize the same and jump on the WordPress bandwagon.

While it’s obvious that not all of them have put in the same amount of effort, their websites show a wide range of really exciting examples of what the WordPress platform is capable of.

It also makes one thing clear: If WordPress is good enough for high-profile athletes and teams like the ones on this list, you should have no problem using the platform to create a professional website for you and your team either.

The tools are already out there, all you need is to get started.

Are you looking to create a professional sports website for yourself or your team? We would be happy to help! Please feel free to have a look at our plugin section as well as our themes. Should you have any questions about our products, please have a look at our support section.

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