ESPN debuted a web app called the SportsCenter Feed on Wednesday, and the tool bears a striking resemblance to the service where many sports fans consume news and information these days: Twitter.
Instead of presenting ESPN.com visitors with the traditional format of splashy images and a small handful of clickable headlines, the SportsCenter Feed offers an alternate experience that streamlines content with a heavy emphasis on quick bursts of information and the recently posted content.
As seen in the screenshot above, a scrollable feed of headlines takes center stage. Clicking on a story displays content at the right of the feed, while another column on the lefthand side lets you browse by topic or customizable settings of favorites. Scrolling to the top of a feed automatically refreshes the most recent content.
You can check out the beta version of the web app for yourself; just go to espn.com/scfeed and register with ESPN for access. It’s currently available via ESPN.com for desktop and mobile browsers, but standalone apps are on the way too.
If you think this looks like a souped-up and ESPN-centric version of Twitter, that’s no coincidence. Ryan Spoon, ESPN’s senior vice president of product development, acknowledges that the format is a proven success in a digital news cycle that updates by the second.
“The feed format itself works beautifully for time-based content,” Spoon told Mashable. “This environment is really made well for that.”
The SportsCenter Feed option was conceived during an internal hackathon, and represents the deepest use to date of ESPN’s API platform, which was first announced in March of this year. While the new product currently offers ESPN’s robust but basic staples of breaking news and analysis, ESPN.com development manager Dave Weiner says it will soon incorporate more longform pieces as well as content from subsidiary sites such as Grantland and ESPNW.
The feed shows a strong conceptual grasp of the digital landscape by ESPN, but we’ll see how much sports fans take to the format — or whether they simply stick with Twitter for a customizable content stream.
Does ESPN.com’s SportsCenter Feed seem like a good idea to you, or do you prefer a more traditional web layout? Give us your take in the comments.