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App review: ESPN FC for iOS
Soccer fans will get a kick out of this app, but it might leave some users off-side
- Tracks all major leagues in one app
- Quick access to scores and fixtures
- Times are wrong
- Layout could be better
For football fans of major leagues, ESPN FC is a good one-stop app for quick access to recent scores and upcoming fixtures. Although when it comes to detailed information regarding the sport, the best bet is to find apps dedicated to a particular league or team you are interested in.
Although there is a legion of football apps on the market, ESPN FC, formerly ESPNsoccernet, is one of the better ones. It provides coverage of all the major leagues and tournaments alongside an array of news-related features that provide a scope of the sport on a global scale. It is not perfect, though, and requires fixes and additions to become the one-stop app for the world game.
The first thing to do after downloading ESPN FC, like with most sports apps, is select your favourite teams, leagues, and tournaments through the settings menu (top right of screen). While within the settings, you can also choose to login with Facebook, as well as select your language and toggle tool-tips. That’s all the setup that's required.
The ESPN FC home screen is the news page. At the top is a side-scrolling bar which lists all the leagues and tournaments you previously selected. Tap into these and it lists the most recent result for your preferred teams. If a team isn’t selected, it displays the league results. There is a star at the beginning of this menu which provides a list of the most recent game played of your favourite teams (including nations). The separate scores page is similar to this, but provides a full timeline of past and future fixtures for your teams. Tapping on a game does not take you to a dedicated page though, making it feel cramped.
Below this is the latest news from the football world, followed by ‘My News’ when you scroll down. Tapping into either of these brings up dedicated news pages. Other features include a video tab with selected clips from around the world, and tables/standings for all your chosen leagues/tournaments.
ESPN FC has one major flaw that has the potential to confuse and anger football fans: a lot of the kick-off times displayed within the app are inaccurate, despite the fact that it uses location tracking. For example, all A-League games are listed as commencing one hour after the actual time. It’s important to keep this in mind and confirm the kick-off elsewhere just to be sure.
Another annoying element is that ESPN added advertising to its app when it renamed it to ESPN FC. The ads sit just above the menu, which is at the bottom of the screen. As the app is not optimised for the iPhone 5 yet, this can be particularly frustrating as less content appears on screen.
Requirements: iOS 4.2 or higher
Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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PCW Evaluation Team
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