Local Flavors of ESPN coming to iOS

Posted by Blake Grundman on August 18th, 2010
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

ESPN considers themselves to be "The Worldwide Leader in Sport."  In an effort to further assert that reign, last year the network launched local versions of their website.  Each of these local markets were catered to, with special in-depth coverage that was specific to their geography.  As you can well imagine, this concept was a smash hit, inspiring 5.7 million unique pageviews in the last month alone.

Seeing the opportunity to further enhance this coverage, ESPN has decided to supplement the sites with their own free iPhone apps, choosing to focus on the Dallas, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York markets.

So what can you expect from these tools?  The ESPN MediaZone has the full breakdown:

  • Top local and national news stories;

  • GPS-activated local weather updates;

  • Blog posts and tweets from each of the local contributors to the sites;

  • Interactive scoreboard;

  • Access to local SportsCenter video and audio clips;

  • Stadium guides for all local professional sports teams;

  • Schedules;

  • Text direct to ESPN Radio stations in Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York;

  • Live digital audio from the ESPN Radio stations;

This is an amazing idea that I really wish someone could have thought of sooner.  However, a great idea is only as good as its execution.  Fortunately the good folks over at ESPN have provided us with a basic video overview of how each regional app will operate.

There are many facets to this application that I am curious about.  First of, what is the deal with not giving Detroit a local version? Hell, we have a representation in all of the major sport leagues and numerous minor/development league franchises.  Sure, the city may be a burnt out husk of what Chicago is, but we still love our teams... okay, well the Red Wings at least.

Secondly, will there be any ability to add in streaming of local sports, possibly at a cost to the user?  I know of many sports fans that would gladly pay a little extra each month for the ability to view their team of choice from the comfort of a wireless hotspot.  Plus, for those that have been separated from the city of their birth, such as military personnel, it could be viewed as a very welcome taste of home.

I look forward to see how successful these apps can be, and just hope they wise up and start targeting Detroit soon!