Back in July, I passed along the info that ESPN.com was getting a bit of an overhaul. The plan was to first fix their search function and change some of the video delivered, but now the word is that the site will take on a completely different look this Winter. On January 5th, ESPN will formally launch the new-look site and the goal is to provide a cleaner/smoother layout with an emphasis on video. Via Sports Business Journal….

ESPN.com will unveil its new site design on January 5, 2009. The new site will feature a 16 x 9 widescreen orientation, a heightened emphasis on video content and a more streamlined overall structure. While ESPN.com typically ranks among the very top sports sites each month in third-party traffic reports, the site by many opinions still has not achieved an optimal structure for content discovery and navigation. “There’s going to be a much cleaner, more immersive experience, with a big focus on user-initiated video,” said ESPN Exec VP/Multimedia Sales Eric Johnson. Some specific features, such as improved search functionality, have already been rolled out, while beta testing on the broader effort will continue through the fall. “This is an overall improvement that represents the next evolution of fan experience online,” said John Kosner, ESPN.com Senior VP & GM. “This will not be the end, but rather the start of a new era for us designed to greatly enhance the user experience. This is going to be a dramatic step forward.”

Again, as long as the video doesn’t start automatically, and feature a two-minute long commercial before the thing starts, then this should be a good move. I think ESPN has done wonders with their video content and hopefully this new setup will make it easier for people to navigate both the written and visual side of things on the site.

ESPN.com To Ring In The New Year With Updated Site Design (Sports Business Journal – $)
ESPN.com To Be Revamped, New Search Function Kicks Off The Process (Awful Announcing)

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