ESPN pushed a big update to its flagship news app for iOS on Thursday. Now simply called ESPN — ditching the “Sportscenter” appellation — the app sports a new look, WatchESPN and ESPN Radio integration, and importantly for iPad-toting sports fans, it is a universal app that works on both phones and tablets running iOS.
It’s not that you couldn’t get scores from ESPN on an iPad before — the “Worldwide Leader” had a confusingly named and poorly-reviewed iPad app called ESPN ScoreCenter XL. But the company is following a new digital strategy, announced last fall, in which it is making cuts to its lineup of apps. Previously, the company had 45 different apps for various sports niches, including separate apps focusing on fantasy leagues, radio, and individual sports like soccer. Now, the game plan is to work on fewer, more individually personalized apps.
The design language in the new iOS app is a preview of what ESPN’s new website will look like when it re-launches on April 1st. The new design emphasizes performance and speed, and is divided into three main sections: A feed for scores, a feed for news, and a new section called Now that combines social media, quick commentary, and ESPN photos and videos. The iPad version of the app sticks your favorite team logos on the bottom right hand corner of the screen for easy access. Of course, the app will still push alert notifications for scores and game starting times.
You can listen to ESPN Radio in the app, but internal WatchESPN links for live sports or highlights will send you to that service’s dedicated app, although an ESPN executive told Gigaom’s Janko Roettgers that eventually you’ll be able to play WatchESPN content in the main ESPN app.
The new ESPN app is available from the iTunes App Store. Unfortunately, fans using Android devices will have to wait “a few months” for a similar update.