By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard
Without a doubt ESPN’s 30 for 30 series is some of the best storytelling/entertainment for sports fans on TV. Problem is that if you miss one and did not DVR it then watching it online is not a user friendly experience.
If you haven’t seen one of the many ESPN 30 for 30’s then you are missing out. They are creative, insightful and very entertaining. They cover a wide variety of subjects like the University of Miami football team to the earthquake that postponed the World Series. If you missed the episode on TV then watching it online becomes a real challenge.
The website for 30 for 30 is pretty. It has a summary of every episode, comments and a nice big image. What it doesn’t have is video. Yes they may have one or two but no archive. You have to do a search and maybe you will find the an episode on YouTube or on ESPN’s website buried somewhere beyond comprehension. Pretty much they’re saying, ‘here is this awesome feature we did and here is what it’s about but go watch it on TV.’ It’s a backwards way of thinking.This is backward thinking creates a bad online user experience and negates all of the online claims that ESPN makes with every PR release.
ESPN needs to make the 30 for 30 more accessible for online viewing. It can do this in two ways: First, build out the YouTube page. The current versions are not what we’d expect from ESPN. Second, build out the 30 for 30 site itself. Add video and build and searchable archive. Do it now before the series backlog becomes too big of a mountain to climb and you cannot do something truly innovative.
ESPN my be the 800lb gorilla in sports but it is vulnerable when it rests on it’s laurels. Not providing replays of original features like 30 for 30 online and making it easy to find shows that it is resting on its laurels. It also provides competitors like NBC and FOX avenues to start chipping away at ESPN’s lead. ESPN needs to actually get on the new media train and stop with the lip service.