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A slightly different ball game

James Howard | 17:31 UK time, Friday, 7 August 2009

Almost as soon as the F1 season had started and had settled down, minds were refocussed on what we needed to achieve on the sport site for the new football season.

When the deal was signed for BBC Sport to have Football League and Carling Cup highlights on the site, we saw it as an excellent opportunity to revisit the club pages and the divisional indexes - as well as revisiting the way we do live coverage of each match.

Lewis Wiltshire on the sport site has explained some of the restrictions (we only have the highlights for 7 days and can only be put up 24 hours after matches).

There will be goals from every match and a round up of action from the Championship, League 1 and League 2 . Highlights will be on the site for 7 days and available to watch 24 hours after matches finish. The SPL pages have also been updated.

We knew that some of our club pages still hadn't been worked on since or last design iteration of teh Sport site and weren't doing a great job of showing off all the content that we had for fans.

The basic rule of thumb that we are using is that club specific information - stories, video, audio, data - goes into the main central column and information that was more generally about football on the site - The Gossip column, blog posts, broadcast information, iplayer details - goes into the right hand column.programmes.gif

All of these pages (over 100) have now been redesigned to accomodate video and more data that is specific to the clubs. We still have a few more modules to roll out once we have that data.

Our live coverage of all matches in the Premier League, Championship, League 1 and League 2 as well as the SPL also needed looking at. In the past we had a few pages where match data appeared and some of it was overwritten on a weekly basis.

The concept we worked to was known as 'one page/URL per match'. A single, permanent 'match page' for every game in the major league and cup competitions. Hopefully something that fans can use a reference to see who really did get that assist in that crucial midweek match.live_scores.gif

As a process we start with the preview of the match, maybe written a couple of days previous to the game, and then the live data - the score, live text, team line ups and substitutions, goal scorers, bookings, possession, corners etc - gets added to the page just before kick off. And finally the match report, reaction and video highlights are added. next3.gif

Live video will be added when relevant and there will be a "live as it happens" table that allows users to see the latest positions of clubs as goals are scored.

Work has also been done to improve the mobile offering so from today we are offering the option of customising your homepage. You can opt for club News, Results and fixtures on a per club basis (as opposed to divisional). Further roll outs will include the live text per match as well. No video on mobile though.

With fixtures coming thick and fast across these divisions - there are 36 in the Championship in the first 11 days and 30 odd Carling Cup matches - there should be a wealth of goals for you to watch.

Next big event for sport: Winter Olympics from Vancouver.

James Howard
Executive Product Manager, Sport


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