Thursday, October 26, 2006

My oh my – Sports News

The two leading sports news sites, and, have taken to the “My” revolution that’s taking over the internet. (Think MySpace, MyCokeRewards, My Yahoo and the like.) Each has its own “My[insert name here]” portal to bring users/fans customized information to an online portal (ESPN) or their desktop via downloadable software (SI). I am all about getting the information I want when I want it, but these sites have taken two drastically different approaches and I already know which one I really like and which one leaves a less than favorable impression.

In the interest of full disclosure, I once worked at, back when it was called and there was a TV network to go with it. I managed the community department, handling celebrity Q&As, user feedback and the message boards.

First, let’s start with MyEspn – I think this site is a perfect example of everything that’s right with a personalized portal. It’s a website with everything I want to see right in front of me. I worry with these “My” pages that I might miss out learning something new about the world beyond my own set parameters because I’ve done too good of a filtering job. But thankfully the ESPN folks have used their good judgment and included a general headlines section. ESPN could stand to lose the video box that starts talking as soon as the page loads. Insta-sound annoys me. But I love that the process takes seconds – complete a short registration form and you’re logged in. From there it’s a few easy clicks to select which teams you want to monitor and you’re off (or on to reading, whichever you prefer).

Now, on the other hand requires you to download software to run their program. (One CD mailed to SI subscribers amazingly was not purchased on eBay recently.) I like ESPN because it gives me the information when I want it, but MySI continually sends the information to my desktop where it seems to be constantly visible. MySI’s explainer/FAQ video was a turn-off to me and prompted more unanswered questions. What does the scoreboard show during the week if I only care about NFL scores? (And why would I need an NBA scoreboard to scroll continuously during my workday? Isn’t seeing it once enough?) Why was she explaining all of this to me in a robe? The swimsuit model that led the FAQ video started off by addressing “the guys.” Um, don’t you think that excludes us female sports fans?

Here’s a story hyping’s launch. I say skip it and go for MyESPN. As much as I love for everything else, this isn’t one for their highlights reel.

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