Can you contain your holiday excitement, sports fans? ScoreCenter is coming! In 2008, we will finally get the ScoreCenter we have demanded from ESPN since its inception lo those many years ago! Exclaim with joy!
…you have no idea what ScoreCenter is, do you? Poor bastard, living life without knowing true happiness. Did you feel that tiny nagging sensation that your life was somehow incomplete? Of course you did, but you’re never going to sleep with an underwear model. This is that other tiny nagging sensation. No, not that forgotten birthday. Your mother gave up on that a long time ago. The other other…
Look, just listen. There’s this new website called ScoreCenter, named to make it seem like the old days of ESPN when they told you the scores of sporting events and not much else. This was right around the time MTV showed music videos.
(No, it’s really true.)
(Shut up; it wasn’t that long ago.)
Initially, twenty-three sports in 180 countries will be covered, combining all the properties ESPN has bought up over the last few years. Live, current, and detailed scoring information will be available at all times. It’s exactly what you’ve clamored for, no?
Join the Mickey Mouse Club; the initial reaction from the public ranged from derivise jeers (“ooh, cricket scores!”) to blasé reportage. It does seem a bit much for ESPN to get excited about, considering most people get the scores they desire from the sources they love already. Globalization is lovely and all, but bringing the world together over obscure sports scores does seem a bit esoteric. You’d be better off trying to unite the world over finding the next Sanjaya.
Look out for ScoreCenter, though; this is no ESPN Mobile-level debacle. There’s value in ScoreCenter for the sporting community and stockholders but for quite different reasons.
For example, stat geeks should perk up at the notion of having detailed statistical information on current events in one location. If ESPN’s tech team has done their homework and pulled all the different Web sites ESPN owns under the same standard, people with interest in statistical analysis will find the ability to share techniques and code bases. This could lead to new frontiers in analysis for sports just learning how to take advantage of numbers in new ways. (Basketball comes to mind, but what about cricket? Rugby?) If ESPN isn’t stingy with the XML files, this will be a highly hackable resource that will make our understanding of our favorite sports stronger.
For the 98% of you that didn’t get excited at “hackable” or “standardized data formats”, you should check out ScoreCenter on opening day to see if it offers two key pieces of functionality. They’ll tell you the real story of ScoreCenter.
First, do you see simple yet elegant presentations of scores incredibly close to real time? This would beat every other Web site on the Internet and sell the product by itself. Imagine watching an Andruw Jones home run in Dodger Stadium and glancing down at your cell phone browser to see the home run recorded before he touches home plate.
Second, do you see betting lines? If you don’t see them, don’t be deterred. ScoreCenter, in all its platform permutations, is a gambling Web site. If its scores are faster and more reliable than anyone else’s, it’ll become the gambling enthusiast’s best friend. No need to bounce from site to site to find the latest score update; it’ll all be in one heavily commercialized space.
Congratulations, ESPN, on finally finding a way to monetize the gambling aspect of sports in a new and better way under the guise of globalization. You shameless hussy, you.