ESPN is giving sports fans a way to hook up to its firehose of content with a new Twitter-style stream called SportsCenter Feed. The sports cable and online network is amassing almost every bit of content it pushes out over ESPN.com into a single feed, more than 1,000 updates a day.
The feed, which is in beta and will be accessible through ESPN.com, will include personalization and filtering tools so users can narrow the focus of the updates they see. For now, users will be able to select their favorite team or sports league but eventually it will include filters for players and conferences.
Users who create an account will be able to click on any update and view it in a larger window. It will include stories, blog posts, videos, pictures and score updates but it won’t include longer journalism pieces at launch or content from Grantland, a sports and entertainment site that is affiliated with ESPN.
Ryan Spoon, SVP of product development at ESPN said SportsCenter Feed provides ESPN with a way to help fans find better content more frequently and help them discover stories they might have missed.
“We produce so much content over time it becomes difficult to uncover it all for fans,” said Spoon, a former principal at Polaris Venture Partners. “Our goal is to create another presentation layer that is real time and is streaming.”
SC Feed was born out of an internal hackathon using ESPN’s own APIs, which the network opened up in March. The product is a good example of what developers can do with ESPN’s API program, said Spoon. He said while ESPN has an RSS feed and a Twitter channel, those are still curated experiences that don’t provide the entire breadth of ESPN’s content.
SC Feed will begin as a URL, but will eventually get its own mobile and tablet apps. And it’s likely that it will get integrated into other ESPN properties. For instance, you could be watching a game on the WatchESPN app or checking scores on the ScoreCenter app and get access to the feed. This would also help ESPN fend off challenges from iPad apps like Sportstream, which brings in relevant tweets about the games you’re following. The feed will include advertisements mixed into its updates.
The updates come in on average about once a minute, though it’s likely the pace will be faster when games are on at night and on weekends. It might be a little overwhelming for people who aren’t used to active Twitter feeds but for many hardcore sports fans, I can see them keeping this tab open. As Twitter has taught us, there’s a big appetite for people who want to tune into their interests. And with a feed, people have the ability to just see the flow of information and pick out what they want.