Sport Manitoba

Creating a streamlined multi-site solution for Sport Manitoba that enables a consistent user experience for site visitors while providing distinctive content authoring abilities.

Sport Manitoba's main building in black and white
Sport Manitoba
Sport Manitoba is a nonprofit organization that leads and supports sport for Manitobans, with their primary focus on the development of athletes, coaches, officials, and volunteers.
They needed a responsive, social website that could manage various levels of seamless content sharing between the governing body and the partner programs. These sites also needed a unified look and feel while respecting unique brand elements.

The Client

Partnering with over 100 organizations, Sports Manitoba is responsible for 6 different programs, ranging from Coaching Manitoba, The Sports Medicine Centre to The Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame. Each program was represented on the Sports Manitoba website with some autonomy for their property, controlling their own marketing initiatives, messaging, and content entries. Some news and pages were shared between them.

The websites were using a proprietary Content Management System (CMS) that was no longer meeting their needs. They needed a responsive, social website that could manage various levels of seamless content sharing between the governing body and the partner programs. It also needed to have a unified “look and feel” between the sites while respecting each of their brand elements.

The Objectives

Sport Manitoba and its partner programs used a proprietary CMS to handle their content, branding and overall website needs. Each entity’s website was a standalone solution and each program had a different authoring team, system, and workflow to manage their site. Although the governing body had to approve content before publishing for some of the organizations, overall governance was lacking.

The organization needed a website with multi-site, sharing and authoring capabilities. Its backend needed to allow each program’s authoring group to manage their own content, using a workflow designed to address their situation, and that allowed content to be shared through all the programs and the organization when required.

The new website needed to support Sport Manitoba’s position as the leader of the provincial programs, using a standard identity for all, but also using a distinguishable branding characteristic for each subsite.

With a few of the existing websites not working responsively on mobile devices or tablets, device-specific display also had to be addressed. Finally, social media integration was needed to reach out and engage with the website’s audience.

new unified "look and feel"

Build a Drupal website with multisite capabilities

They needed a responsive, social website that could manage various levels of seamless content sharing between the governing body and the partner programs.

Deliver a responsive website that reconfigures for mobile, tablet and desktop devices

sport manitoba iphone screenshot.


Drupal was selected as the CMS because of its flexibility, ability to add more features and seamlessly scale to the varied and emerging new needs of this enterprise organization.

An overall theme was created for Sport Manitoba and its programs. Each program was made distinguishable by its unique colour and logo, however page layouts, navigation, and overall “look and feel” are now shared. The new solution allows for shared content such as news items to be entered by the overall site administrator into the database and served up onto the sites using that site’s identity, including its colour. The site administrator is also now able to select which websites display, or don’t display, the promoted content.

Drupal’s “Organic Groups” module, with some additional custom configuration, was used to address the multisite authoring, content sharing, workflow and governance requirements. It allows the build of a multisite website using one shared database but with a number of different site editor permissions, accessibility and content visibility settings.

Although Drupal is capable of content migration for standard platforms, the proprietary CMS forced a manual migration of content to the new CMS. Following the migration, the content was manually checked. Due to the complexity of the project and the migration requirements, extra training was required to ensure a smooth transition to the new solution and to stay within the client’s budget.


The new website solution was launched and announced to the public on December 8, 2015. Since then, there has been a noticeable increase in site traffic with spikes of up to a 50% increase, for months at a time.

The various groups of site editors find the website configuration easy and intuitive to use, are impressed with the support and nature of the Drupal community and with the online resources available. An additional module has been developed to support the “Organic Groups” module and has been promoted in the Drupal community.

With foundations for e-commerce capabilities labelled a future priority, the site will also be able to help generate revenue and streamline transactions with the goal of supporting the construction of the new athletic facilities for the 2017 Canada Games in Winnipeg. The underpinnings for additional online functionality have been laid, with site users soon able to rent facilities, book rooms, become a member and register for classes.

The relationship with Sport Manitoba continues to grow with additional training, future functionality discussions, OPIN’s sponsorship of the organization and with Sport Manitoba promoting the project to their colleagues.

small logo

The new interactive website is all about simplicity. It’s a great way for us to make the online experience better for our users. They can use the site on any platform, at any time, and the experience will be consistent.

- Tara Skibo
Communications / Public Relations Officer
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