Seen & Heard – Wednesday Edition

 

by mike in boston / @mikeinbostonemail

 

Good morning sports media watchers. A quick mid-week post for some pre-Festivus airing of the grievances. Once we get further into December I promise to be more positive.

 

One week on TSN.ca

 

Last tuesday I woke up and wondered who won the Monday Night Football game that aired on TSN. So I clicked over to their website to get caught up. Here's what the front page looked like:

 

 

No mention of the NFL game but a gigantic ad for something that was airing on TSN (1/3/5) 4 hours later with links to other TV content. 

 

Next I wanted a list of TSN's twitter feeds so I googled "TSN twitter". Among the top search results is this page from the old TSN site. Listed there is this guy:

 

 

I clicked on his twitter feed and was greeted by this message:

 

 

Dutifully I clicked on @TSNAaronWard which ended with this:

 

 

I then wanted to find a list of the "TSN Originals" documentaries for inclusion in our TSM Best of 2016 post. This is some of the most critically acclaimed (and expensive) content TSN produces. I couldn't find it in the header bar until I clicked on "More". There it is! 

 

 

TSN values this work so much they nestle it in next to their viral video subsite and the TSN shop. If you have ever wondered what is in the TSN shop, feast your eyes on these beauties:

 

 

I'm not really the target market for a "Celly" t-shirt so I won't pass judgment on those who would spend $40 for one. Anyway, if you want to find the documentary about soccer in Brazil's slums, it's next to the "Show me ur Crest" merch.

 

This morning I went to the Columnists section to see what people have been writing about lately. TSN boasts quite a few talented writers. 

 

 

Good stuff. I wanted to read some more:

 

 

The landing page shows a jumbled listing of headlines with no indication of who wrote what. Thankfully there is an "All" button that helps you find an index of writers. Here's where that takes you:

 

 

What follows is a long list that includes everyone from Bob McKenzie to "Cabbie" Richards to Scott Ferguson. I think this is stretching the definition of columnist but that's just my opinion. There is also no indication of who has a recent post. The last column from Ferguson is from 2014. Further, the list of 50 or so names has no apparent order: it's not alphabetical; it’s not organized by sport. Maybe it’s an internal TSN power ranking? Who knows. 

 

Notice that they have separate categories for TV and Radio. Oddly The Star's Bruce Arthur is listed under both categories. No other newspaper regulars on TSN — e.g. Feschuk, Siegel, Simmons — are listed under any category. McKenzie is listed under all three. 

 

As I have asked many times before in this space: why is it so hard for major sports outlets to run competent websites? They have an unlimited pool of eager interns from which to draw. Cleaning these things up is maybe 5-10 hours of work with basic HTML skills.

 

—–

 

happy wednesday

until next time …

mike (not really in boston)

 
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Donny
Donny
December 7, 2016 8:32 am

To be the fair, the MNF football game sucked.

And the tsn website is horrendous. I’ll be the first person to trash bleachrreport, however it is with such an easy website to navigate through I continue to return. Opposite for tsn.

Pete
Pete
December 7, 2016 8:32 am

I've pretty much avoided the TSN website ever since they re-designed it.  Way too clunky and difficult to navigate.  This affirms why I should continue staying away.

Steve in Waterloo
Steve in Waterloo
December 7, 2016 10:08 am

Mike in Boston not so grumpy, just stating a fact.  TSN website is virtually unreadable.

Not to pile on, just to help sway TSN to make some changes.  I would like to use the site.

Mike Kett
Mike Kett
December 7, 2016 10:29 am

I would totally agree with this article, Mike. That's one of the reasons why I've been getting all my sports news from Sportsnet.ca these days. Such a cleaner, easier website to navigate.

mario
December 7, 2016 10:31 am

Not a fan of the TSN web site and haven't even tried in months ,agree with others here. The Sportsnet site is much improved over the years much easier to navigate, not perfect but better. Maybe TSN hurting in ticket sales for the World Juniors and doesn't  want a repeat of the Grey Cup ticket fiasco.

Antonio
Antonio
December 7, 2016 11:58 am

Its not just TSN. Many Canadian companies' website suck. It seems they dont put the resources into when compared to their American counterparts. In some ways its like comparing Cdn university sports to US colleges – not a fair comparison.

For example go to the Globe Sports' site. They'll frequently list stories that are well over a week old. Its sloppy and unprofessional in my view.

 

Justin
Justin
December 7, 2016 12:37 pm

Sportsnet has had a better website than TSN for as long as I can remember. When TSN re-designed their site a while back I was excited since it was long overdue, only to be disappointed at how bad it was. The same thing can be said for ESPN.com’s semi-recent re-design, which is cluttered, awful, and impossible to find content on. There’s no page on ESPN.com with a list of columnists! Having to find Bill Barnwell and Zack Lowe’s most recent stuff through the search bar is verry annoying. SI’s website is also terrible due to those bars on the top and along the side that move with you as you scroll on the page and take up 20% of the page space. US or Canada – Sportsnet has by far the best site.

Hans
Hans
December 7, 2016 1:07 pm

The problem is that many of these companies are sold on the idea that a fancy looking site will draw in hits/visitors AND that the web designers don't think about "function" or "accessibility" when they present the designs. They assume that like them everyone knows how to navigate a website and that everyone understands how the site operates and are web/tech savvy. They forget (or don't care if you meet the arrogant ones) that not everyone designs websites or have the skills to do such. Complication for the sake of it instead of just making a good looking site that is easy to navigate.

Going back to TSN, I'm sure the only care if it's a slick looking site they can sell ads on and don't really worry if it actually works or not.

Steve
Steve
December 7, 2016 2:10 pm
Reply to  Antonio

Never thought about it, but yeah, there are A LOT of bad Canadian websites versus US ones.

Example: AirCanada.com – just horrific and looks like something from last decade. Never mind the fact that you can only create a password with up to 10 characters and no special characters allowed. I guess they don't care for online security.

Steve
Steve
December 7, 2016 2:20 pm

TSN has constantly stolen ESPN's graphics/music/programming so why they can't use their website also is dumbfounding as it would certainly be an improvement of their current offering.

I stopped visiting it years and years ago and now only follow a couple guys for their columns and visit the site that way solely to read them and the GTFO.

Curt
Curt
December 7, 2016 3:43 pm

It's shocking that tsn.ca has been this bad for this long. As far as tv production goes, I've always preferred TSN over Sportsnet by miles. But TSN ought to be embarrassed at the state of their website.

Ben
Ben
December 7, 2016 5:27 pm

All valid points MIB, but the online world is going/gone mobile and it’s all about traction on a good app. Suffice to say TSN’s app is horrendous, rated 2.6 out of 5 in Google play.

That’s embarrassing to potential users, but apparently not to Bell Media.

I am using apps like ESPN, Yahoo Sports, CBS sports and the Score.
TSN has lost me as a page viewer.

cirroc
cirroc
December 7, 2016 6:09 pm

Add me to the list of people that gave up on the TSN website.  I'm as big a TSN apologist as it gets but man that site just has nothing to offer.

Poker Guy
Poker Guy
December 8, 2016 7:24 am

The fact that there is even a trace of Aaron Ward on there, is inexcusable.

Wayne
Wayne
December 8, 2016 8:38 am

Wow I can't believe what I'm reading. I read it all the time, easy to navigate, and I get everything I need. I almost never look at Sportsnet web site it's aweful. Different strokes for different folks I guess.

people are so negative on this web site. Your lives must be in such a terrible place that you have to critique everything!

 

 

Anthony
Anthony
December 8, 2016 10:46 pm

@Wayne

Don't disagree about the negativity, there are some certain posters who seem to love  hating everything, MiB is bang on, he spells it out perfectly, TSNs site is awful. Im sure those negative nellys will find a way to blame Rogers for this (I kid) but its never been a quality site.

Daz66778
Daz66778
December 9, 2016 7:22 am
Reply to  Wayne

Agree with Wayne. I have no problem with finding anything on TSN's website.

Mullah_Kintyre
Mullah_Kintyre
December 9, 2016 10:53 am

Why would your first thought have been to look at the TSN website to find out about the NFL game? 

I assume most of us have been habitually using the internet for about 20 years now, and soon after we wake up take a quick look at a particular small number of websites and news searches for specific subjects. The notion of a general sports media has seemed to be becoming more antiquated in recent years, with so many better and more specific sources available that are more focused on whatever teams or sports you follow.

Lemmon
Lemmon
December 9, 2016 12:28 pm
Reply to  Mullah_Kintyre

TSN is the Canadian rights holder of the NFL and a sports website–why would you assume the NFL scores wouldn't be on their website?

Mullah_Kintyre
Mullah_Kintyre
December 9, 2016 1:28 pm
Reply to  Lemmon

It's the website of a television channel.

Lemmon
Lemmon
December 9, 2016 1:35 pm
Reply to  Lemmon

…a sports television channel. Which, in turn, is also the biggest sports website in Canada. 

Where exactly is your argument here?

Mullah_Kintyre
Mullah_Kintyre
December 9, 2016 4:44 pm

Why wouldn't anyone just type in nfl.com? or something more specifically NFL related, or even do a quick google news search if it is something less ubiquitous than the NFL that you're looking for? Like I said, the whole concept of general sports media seems antiquated in 2016, like a guy in a Ron Burgundy plaid jacket doing the 3-minute sports report on a local TV station 6pm newscast. Unless maybe you were looking for some information about TSN or Sportsnet, I don't understand how their websites would be of much use to anyone.

Marcus
Marcus
December 9, 2016 4:53 pm

Would it be off-topic to mention that, if you want an NFL score, download the NFL Mobile app? I like how after it introduces itself, it immediately goes to the menu page that you were on when you exited it. At the bottom, the menu options are Stories (top news, starting with most recent), games (the schedule, sorted by week), NFL Now (the video clips), and standings, which are pretty much the go-to stuff for any sport. The More menu leads you to other sections. 

Anyway, not to sell it, just to say that for looking up NFL scores quickly, I like the app. 

The MLB At Bat app has a simliar format, a bit more packed with info, but that's par for the course, as I find that baseball gets analyzed to the nth degree in general. 

DJ
DJ
December 10, 2016 6:54 am

We all realize that there are apps and other web pages for content.  This isn't something people are missing.

But, its becoming clear that to be competitive in the sports media industry you need to have your toe in every pool – Tv, Radio, web.  They are trying to make fans/listeners/watchers who are "TSN people" or "SNet people".

So, if you are TSN and have a listener or watcher who starts leaking over the SNET web page for viral videos of TIm and Sid saying something silly, or a great interview clip, or you see an NFL score/story. Then, in theory, they can start getting you accustomed to the SNET brand.  And, hopefully, bring you into the SNET followership.

TSN's lack of a coherent web site hurts them.  I can't even believe people are disagreeing with this…..

robinauroa
robinauroa
December 10, 2016 8:30 am

We're seeing two opinions expressed here. The problem with the TSN site is that it's not "sticky". It doesn't keep your attention and unless you're diligent, you don't tend to stick around…however if you do navigate around, you'll eventually find what you want and it's usually great content. Plus if you use Twitter, there are links to articles… Personally, I find that it's easy to navigate around and finsld what I'm looking for.

robinauroa
robinauroa
December 10, 2016 8:35 am

…as usual, it’s a mistake for me to type my comment on a phone…(I wasn’t finished and hadn’t proof read and somehow it posted prematurely –note no nasty comment about this site)…
Anyway….the TSN site needs work, but as a Sportsnet hater, I find the content is what’s really important and the content is far superior, even if the look and feel of the site isn’t….

DJ
DJ
December 10, 2016 8:52 am
Reply to  robinauroa

Rob…..the problem we need to recognize is that people who come to this site, and post on this site, are not the average sports consumers.  We just aren't.

yaz
yaz
December 21, 2016 11:59 am

Well, at least there were no Brazzers T-shirts for sale in the TSN lifestyle section.

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