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Monday, Jan. 5, 2009 at 10:16 am

Calling All Sports Fans – gets redesign

By Howard Kaplan
January 5th, 2009 - 2009 first major redesign - 2009 first major redesign

In the first major redesign of the new year, unveils it’s latest redesign today, after two weeks in “private” Beta for it’s Insider subscribers.  Despite the two week focus group, today’s redesign doesn’t appear noticeably different from the version that launched privately 12/15.  Their stated goals were:

1) less clutter, ostensibly to drive higher engagement (more time spent on site, more pageviews, more traffic)
2) more ad space, to drive higher revenue

Do you think the new site accomplishes it’s objectives?

I’m not sure they achieve their primary objective (although one must wonder if that’s really their #1 goal behind the scenes in Bristol, or do Advertisers trump Audience?) as “less” clutter is a relative term.  I wouldn’t exactly describe the redesign as minimalist.  There are some nice touches though, even if they’re slightly hidden (checkout the scoreboard on the homepage, above the top navigation).  As for goal #2, after visiting last night I fell asleep dreaming of buying a new F150, and couldn’t figure out why the Ford homepage had so many clips from Sportscenter on it, so I’d call that a success!

Let’s hear your thoughts.  What works, what doesn’t?  How will you apply these lessons in your own redesign efforts in 2009? (Hopefully NOT by taking 1 calendar year to work on a single redesign!)  We’d love you to weigh in…

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Comments (17)

  1. Well, I went to and was immediately hit with an ad boasting about their redesigned web site, and somehow tying it to the redesign Ford F150. The ad was an annoying video that played automatically. Ugh!

  2. I really am enjoying the new design of ESPN. Much better than their old. The use of video is much better and flows well now. Very clunky before. They are definitely trying to push the personalization of their site now.

  3. @Tom the annoying ad at was pretty cool tho (check it out again) with the video-animation tie in

  4. They finally got rid of their auto-play video sidebar! Yes! That change alone makes my experience 10 times better.

  5. Their redesigns are always pretty subtle from my point of view. I think “less” clutter is definitely a relative term because sports sites always seem very cluttered to me. However, I never hear sports fans complain about them. I am sure sports fans would enjoy a cleaner interface but then ad monetization wouldn’t be as high to support development efforts and what would marketing agencies do with their time if they weren’t making ultra creative and super annoying ads like this Ford ad.

  6. Nothing like copying exactly.

  7. It still looks a bit cluttered, but it has improved since the last time I visited ESPN

  8. I like ESPN better than most sports sites. That said, I wish they would get rid of their pop up ads which are the only pop ups able to get through my firefox browser and pop up blocker.

    I like the new site better than before though.

  9. The new site design is still way to heavy on the advertising, but I guess they have to make money too. I wonder how many people actually are interested in anything they are advertising. It is just annoying to me.

  10. I do like the fact that they dropped the video feed. I’m not sure about the look, however. What is with all the red?

  11. I don’t like their new one. I hated the old look, but the new one is even worse.

  12. “Firefox prevented this site from opening 2 popup windows”.

    Guess which website I’ll never visit again…

  13. I agree with all the advertising. I guess with all the traffic they get advertisers willing to pay a pretty dollar for it so why not but its still anoying

  14. I’m a little mixed on the redesign. I agree with the poster who said getting rid of the auto-play video sidebar was a great idea. Big thumbs up their. But I don’t like that they moved the commentators blog posts out of the main “top stories” scrollbar. It used to be that every new story would be in the top stories section. Now they’re spread around. Big Thumbs Down for that.

  15. Jaan, Yup kinda looks like the foxsports page. Although, fox has absolutely no rights in my opinion due to their consistent blatant errors in news, so if ESPN can take some of their business, all the better.

  16. I think the new site does pretty well for what it is supposed to do. Although I don’t really get the new, etc satelite sites…

  17. Fantastic blog, many amusing details. I think 6 of days ago, I have viewed a similar post.

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