Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Word on "ESPN Cities"

For those of you unfamiliar with, you may have noticed that I mentioned "ESPN Cities" in at least one of my earlier posts.  I'd like to take a moment to explain these.

The "ESPN Cities" are New York, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Boston.  There are links to the web pages for each of those five cities way at the tippy-top of the home page.  Click on any of them, and you'll be brought to a page that looks much like's home page, except that the news is somehow related to the sports going on in that city or its suburbs.  For example, click on the link that says "New York," and you'll be brought to a page containing news on...well, New York-area sports.

Just like all the other ESPN City home pages, the ESPN New York home page has a big section devoted to sports videos on the left side, and a list of top news stories of the day to the right.  Then, a little above the videos and top stories, is a banner with sports scores.  Again, all the features I just mentioned are positioned comparably to those on the ESPN home page.

There are two main differences between ESPN City home pages and the main ESPN home page, though, besides the fact that the main one doesn't focus exclusively on any particular city. First, there's an ad between the banner with scores and the area with the videos and headlines on the ESPN home page.  There's no such ad on the ESPN City websites (except ESPN-LA).  Subtle difference, I know, but I think my eye notices it when I go on the ESPN City home pages without me realizing exactly what's been changed. 

Second, each ESPN City's "score banner" leads with scores from teams that play in or near that city.  Go back to ESPN New York again.  Its banner leads with the scores of last night's Knicks and Nets games (the two NBA teams in the New York area) before moving on to other NBA scores.

By contrast, today's "lead score" on the ESPN home page score banner suggests the folks in Bristol aren't quite as picky about which game leads that banner (as long as the teams involved are prominent, of course).  The score banner on the ESPN Home Page this morning leads with the 62-46 score of last night's NCAA Men's Basketball game between Michigan and Nebraska.  It's kind of strange to lead with that blowout score given that Duke beat UNC on a buzzer-beater.

By the way, a little later in the day, all sets of sports scores will change to schedules of games that are going to be held tonight (and, in fact, the one on the ESPN home page and the one on the ESPN Boston home page already changed by the time I posted this).

Okay, back to talking about the ESPN Cities.

One thing on the ESPN city pages that you won't see on the ESPN home page is a pretty small section devoted to sports team logos.  On the ESPN New York home page, it's located above the sports scores and to the right of the headline announcing that you have arrived at the ESPN New York web site. Comparable sections are positioned in likewise locations on all other ESPN City home pages.  On the ESPN New York home page, logos for teams like the New York Giants, New York Yankees, and the New York Liberty can be found within this area.  Plus, all the ESPN City team logos in these sections serve as links to blogs about their respective teams.

Okay, so now that I've gone over what I think are some of the main features of the ESPN City home pages, it's time to address a question: What are the purposes of the ESPN City pages?

To me, the answer to this question is two-fold.  First, without looking up any statistics, I believe New York, LA, and Chicago are, respectively, the first-, second-, and third-largest television markets in the country (According to Professor Larry Bean).  That, logically, makes them worthy of their web pages, in my opinion.

Second, all five cities have some of the premier sports franchises in the country: the Dallas Cowboys, the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox, the Chicago Cubs, the Los Angeles Lakers.  Certainly, the fact that each city is home to at least one well-known and popular team also makes them well-worth the dedication of, essentially, entire web sites.

Well, that's about it for now.  Although, there is one thing I wondered recently: Will there be any more ESPN Cities?  I doubt it, but as a sports fan, it makes me excited to just talk about what city could be the next one worthy of such devotion from ESPN.  Some ideas I had: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, or Miami.  What do you think, fellow bloggers?  

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