Sports Feed is for the Not-So-Fanatic Fan

Sporting apps on the iPhone are plentiful. Most come from massive media conglomerates such as ESPN or Yahoo. These apps tend to be rich in feature and in-house news, but short on performance and design — sometimes, a middle ground is necessary. Sports Feed hopes to be just that.

Like the article? You should subscribe and follow us on twitter.

The Advantages

I originally downloaded this app in hopes of finding a replacement for Yahoo! Sports, which is the most full-featured sports app I have found in the App Store. It includes scores from every league I follow, and then some. The news is plentiful, as it collects the latest information from a diverse pool of sources located across the world. The scores are instantly updated, and include live information relevant to each sport (for example, the number of balls, outs, and fouls for a particular batter in baseball).

Most of these features have no place in Sports Feed’s simple interface.

The article view is clean and elegant.

The article view is clean and elegant.

With this focus on simplicity where other solutions have gone all-in on features, Sports Feed is able to be both faster and easier to navigate. While learning the intricacies of Yahoo! Sports took me some time, I was using Sports Feed to its full potential within moments of downloading and installing the app.

There, however, are a few places where Sports Feed stands out. First, unsurprisingly, is the design — Sports Feed feels more like an iOS app than any other cross-platform, media conglomerate-backed app that I’ve used. Particularly great is the navigation throughout the app.

Navigation relies upon the various swipes that iOS 7 introduced, making for a flawlessly quick experience. Additionally, where other apps would pause to update (Yahoo Sports, I’m looking squarely at you), Sports Feed continues moving. The content, schedules, and scores load noticeably faster in almost all circumstances, again highlighting Sports Feed’s advantage over competing apps in this department.

sfphoto1

The home view of Sports Feed is pretty, but is light on viewable information.

Sports Feed’s primary focus isn’t on live scores, but on news — hence the name. The primary screen is a view of news stories, complete with the leading photo, and wrapped up in iOS 7’s signature blur.

Simplicity to a Fault

The result is something that looks nice, but isn’t exactly functional. Nothing but the headline is visible, so no further information on the article is immediately apparent. With only roughly two and a half stories visible without scrolling on an iPhone 5S, the layout is a poor choice for an application that is focused on bringing news and information. It’s an issue of sacrificing functionality for looks, and I’m not a fan. Other news-centric apps like Flipboard manage to present information and stories in a way that is both visually appealing and useful — Sports Feed can, too.

The score and schedule view is hidden one layer behind the news feed, and is accessed by tapping the eye icon in the top left. Thankfully, this particular view doesn’t suffer from the content and layout spacing issues of the news feed. Live games are noted by the red “LIVE” square, while completed matches are listed below with their final score.

The schedule view of Sports Feed is very useful, as it contains more information than other parts of the app.

The schedule view of Sports Feed is very useful, as it contains more information than other parts of the app.

Accessing the schedule is straightforward. The best feature of the schedule layout is that it lists what network will be airing the game in the top left corner. In a world where games are split between various networks and channels, this is a handy utility.

The Disadvantages

Sports Feed only includes support for six leagues, all of which are based in North America: NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NCAAF, NCAAB.

For anyone who carries an interest in other leagues and sports around the globe, Sports Feed simply isn’t an option — other, more complete apps like Yahoo Sports will have to do.

You can have any sports league you want, as long as it is one of the very limited default options.

You can have any sports league you want, as long as it is one of the very limited default options.

The app does offer notifications for “Major News,” though I have yet to see that in action. Even after the Red Sox won the World Series, Sports Feed had nothing to alert me to. Therefore, I question what constitutes “Major News” for this app, and if the feature even works.

Finally, this app lacks one feature that I find essential to any sports app. Sports Feed isn’t able to follow specific teams. For example, Yahoo Sports allows anyone to select teams to follow and receives updates and alerts about. These teams are given their own tab, which makes sorting through the deluge of information vastly easier. There is no corresponding feature in Sports Feed, making the app unusable for what I expect out of this type of product.

Conclusion

Sports Feed is as simple of a sports app as I could ask for. It collects the most basic information — news, scores, and a gameplay schedule — for a limited number of leagues and sports. There is no “in-depth” when it comes to Sports Feed. There is no way to geek out with statistics or predictions. For me, and — I expect — for many others, this makes Sports Feed a poor choice.

The app does show scores, as well as relevant quotes, for the leagues that it supports.

The app does show scores, as well as relevant quotes, for the leagues that it supports.

The app has a fantastic backend that allows for fast and fluid navigation, and the visual design is generally pleasing. There is room for so much more to be done here, but as of its current version, Sports Feed simply feels like an immature app that caters to a small market. Considering that the current version of the app is up to 3.3, it seems unlikely that this is due to a lack of updates or developer attention. Instead, it seems more likely that the developers simply wish for their app to remain as barebones as possible. For better or for worse, mission accomplished.


Summary

Sports Feed is a beautiful app that is, unfortunately, light on substance. It's hard to recommend this app, even for free, over competitors like Yahoo! Sports.

5