I mentioned a while back that ESPN was going to be a revamping of sorts of its website, and Ryan Spoon has your first look. Spoon, who is an ESPN Insider, got to test out the site and provide an assessment for ESPN recently. Here are his thoughts on the new look (see above)….

As an ESPN Insider, I got access to the new ESPN Beta (in other words, the new ESPN website revamp that has apparently been much of their focus for the last several months). And because I have spoken glowingly about ESPN and ESPN.com previously – I don’t feel bad being sour about ESPN Beta…. but I am and here’s why:

– It’s too much like a magazine and too little like a sports site
– The magazine layout makes it more appropriate for People / US Weekly-like content than sports
– The screen shot below demonstrates just that – the only true sports content is in small blue text on the upper right… and that’s what I want to see!
– The grid layout below the main module is visually attractive – but it’s used exclusively to promote ESPN personalities rather than content
– The new header is clearly designed to increase pageviews and make hubs out of each league / sport (the navigational drop downs were removed)
– There are five headers / navigation bars: leagues, scores, ESPN properties, ESPN.com themes, sports… HUH?!
– While I like the ESPN Red color scheme, it makes the blue, gray and brown text very difficult to read

I’ve turned the Beta off as I am more than underwhelmed… I am struggling to use the new site.

Well then. That’s not a glowing review at all is it, but looking at the photos, I’d have to agree with him. At first glance, the site is aesthetically pleasing. The main photo is larger and you can tell they’re pulling your eye away from news, and towards sponsored content and promotions. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but as RS said, it’s really hard to find any of the “breaking news” content you might be looking for.

I’ve said before that I rarely go to ESPN.com anymore, and while that’s true, I know a ton of people who still use it as their goto site for news. You’re almost forced to use the MyESPN feature to find anything, and that might not rub readers the right way when (and if) it’s officially launched.

Feel free to check it out yourself and let me know what you think in the comments.

ESPN Beta: The Review (Ryan Spoon)
ESPN.com To Be Revamped, New Search Function Kicks Off The Process (Awful Announcing)