SBJ/Dec. 14, 2009/This Week's News

FoxSports.com sports a redesign

FoxSports.com on Tuesday plans to introduce a substantial redesign of its site, the first such move since the network’s digital sports operations were shifted earlier this year from Fox Interactive Media to the Fox Broadcasting Group.

The new look was developed in-house with the aid of New York-based design and software development outfit Code And Theory. The redesign has been in the works for months and features an increased focus on video, improved site navigation and a dramatically redesigned scorebar compared with the current site. The customizable scorebar, rather than sitting at the top of the page as is customary for mainstream sports sites, will be placed at the bottom of each page and move with the users as they scroll down an individual page on the site.

Site improvements include easier navigation.

Jeep has signed on as a rebranding partner for the effort, and the redesign created some additional advertising slots on the site, as well. Also included in the new-look site is a deepened operational link between FoxSports.com and Fox Sports Radio.

“We think we’ve gone a long way to improving the user experience and content discovery on the site, and reducing the clutter that was present in our prior look,” said Jeff Husvar, Fox Sports Interactive senior vice president of operations. “[Fox Sports Chairman] David Hill said he wanted this new site to pop, and we think we’ve done that.”

The redesign continues an active year for FoxSports.com. Earlier this fall, the site deepened its existing content syndication and advertising sales partnership with independent blog aggregator Yardbarker. It also launched a noontime suite of weekday online programming called “Lunch With Benefits.” In July, Fox Sports struck a multiyear deal with Open Sports to have the Mike Levy-led startup create and manage the network’s fantasy sports games.

Husvar said the redesign would not necessarily increase the traffic to FoxSports.com in the short run. Rather, the move is more directly aimed at improving engagement and overall content consumption on the site, metrics becoming increasingly important to advertisers.

The work with Code And Theory also yielded a new senior executive for FoxSports.com. As part of the redesign, Husvar hired Code And Theory managing director Matt Calos to become the new chief product officer for FoxSports.com.

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