Sports news has never been easier to get than it is today. Online sports news makes it quick and simple to get up-to-the-minute sports information every hour of the day. In fact, with the proliferation of sports news, it’s hard to know where to get fast and reliable news updates from the world of sports.
So where is the best place to get sports news? First, I’d like to go over some of the most famous sports news sites and give my own critique of them. Some I use every day, but take their information with a grain of salt. Let’s start with one of those, the so-called “first name in sports”.
ESPN Sports News
ESPN specializes in sports news, so it’s now surprise that this sports website is a good place to get your sports information. Because athletes from most of the major American sports enjoy being on Sportscenter and getting the attention only ESPN can give, you’ll find more personal sports interviews and sports stories than anywhere else on the internet.
I’ve noticed something in the last few years with ESPN, though. Because there is a tremendous pressure to get “scoops”, it seems like ESPN runs with unsubstantiated news reports. They also occasionally go for the sensational story on the ESPN homepage, when there’s really not a whole lot of new information or much of a story at all. So when you’re reading ESPN news, you’ll have to wade through some useless news stories and a whole lot of fluff articles.
I cite ESPN sports news to point out that this is common throughout the sports journalism world these days, and therefore ESPN is a great example to cite. I think this is because sports news outlets want to be able to say “We broke the story”, so they don’t take the care to double-check stories, where they would have 10-20 years ago. The demand for sports news is that great, I guess, though I would prefer to have accurate news an hour later than erroneous news stories as soon as possible. Heck, I never remember who breaks the story, anyway, unless the story turns out to be false.
Sports News Websites
Sporting News Sports – SportingNews.com is a good place to get straightforward, relatively un-sensational news reports. The Sporting News is a big name in the sports news business, with a large infrastructure ranging from a newspaper publication to a nationally syndicated sports radio network. Their sports news website also has an interesting function, somewhat like what you’ll find on Digg (not quite like it, since you don’t give it a thumbs up), where readers can see instantly (next to the byline) how many other readers have commented on the story. Their “related stories” section to the right of the page is better than ESPN’s. Where ESPN simply plugs unrelated stories from the sports world, “Sporting News” give the latest headlines on the team in question and the league in question. For instance, I’m looking at a story on Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys right now. You’ll see in the sidebar “Latest Cowboys Headlines” and “Latest NFL Headlines”, with 8 stories each.
For those with a slower page-loading speed on their computers, Sporting News loads a lot quicker, because it doesn’t load down the home page with pictures and photos the way ESPN does. Also, you don’t have the annoying Sportscenter clips that automatically load up about 10 seconds after you log onto the site. Finally, you don’t have links to stories you can only read the first paragraph for, which is a huge problem with ESPN.com. On the ESPN website, visitors without the “ESPN insider” designation are not allowed to read a significant percentage of the material. Becoming an ESPN Insider is relatively cheap for a year’s subscription, but I resent the idea that ESPN is trying to solicit membership by teasing insider stories all day long. I’ve tried the service before and it’s really not that special, by the way.
USA Today Sports – Another good sports news website is “USA Today Sports”. Many people rank the USA sports page as the best daily sports page in the newspaper business, so it’s only natural that their online sports content would be first rate, also. USA Today lets you read their sports content (and other news content) without registering or signing up. Even when that’s free, I don’t like when websites want me to register to read their content. Personally, with so many sites out there (like the New York Times and Washington Post) that don’t require registration, I just move on to some place more convenient.
Like most of the sports sites, “USA Today Sports News” divides their content into major sports leagues or major sports. So across the top of the USA Today Sports homepage, you’ll see the following categories: “MLB”, “NFL”, “NBA”, “NHL”, “College Football”, “College Basketball”, “High Schools”, “Motor Sports”, “Golf” and “More Sports”. I was amazed that their “fantasy sports” is the first link you can click on, so all you fantasy football owners out there should know that USA Today Sports places a premium on fantasy sports.
One thing about USAToday Sports is the frequent advertisement when you click on links. You probably know the drill from other sites. You click on a news story and you’re asked to watch an ad or click “skip ad” before getting to the link you clicked on in the first place. Now, I understand sites have to advertise, so I’m not too upset when I have to skip an ad, but I am giving fair warning to readers who hate that kind of factor. I would much rather be able to click on the skip ad feature and read the sports story I wanted to read than get to the page and realize I have to be an “insider” to read beyond a few sentences.
Fox Sports – I’m going to mention “Fox Sports Online”, but I’m not going to recommend it. Fox Sports still seems to be the cheesiest major sports network in the business. Their silly robots and sound effects are annoying during the football season, but I noticed they were taking it to a whole other level during their recent broadcast of the Daytona 500.
There was a caution flag that came out after a minor spin-out early in the race. The Fox NASCAR broadcasters showed the wreck, but they had to put their animated gopher graphic, “Digger”, on the screen. The announcers laugh that Digger didn’t see the wreck coming, acting like this is a perfectly normal way to cover car racing. Very silly.
Another reason I don’t pay much attention to Fox Sports is their reliance on Jay Glazer during football season. I hold it against Jay Glazer from several years ago, when he was working for CBSSportsline on their fantasy football coverage. One Sunday morning, Jay Glazer had “breaking news”, where he indicated that Deuce McAllister had spent the previous night in the hospital and fantasy owners needed to take him out of the lineup immediately. Sure enough, when it came gametime, Deuce was in the Saints lineup, and the story about him being in the hospital the night before proved erroneous.
That’s what I’m talking about when I say the sports journalists these days rush to get the scoop, and you have to take their breaking news with a certain amount of skepticism. Many of these online sports news sites seem so concerned about breaking the news first, that they don’t break the news correctly.
So where is the best place to get sports news?
Don’t get me wrong about ESPN sports news. I look at their site just about every day. But I wanted to compare it to a couple of other sites and say I believe in stories submitted by USA Today and Sporting News more than I do ESPN or Fox Sports. Maybe I had a bad experience or two with these and the other two are just as bad, but I’m not so certain about that.