It's a good day for football fans and particularly those who don’t like spending money. ESPN has revamped its Barclays Premier League goals app, ESPN Goals, in time for the 2011-12 football season, and the good news is that what formerly came on subscription is now completely free for anyone to download and enjoy. Forever.
What the app delivers is exactly what it says on the tin and more. Every Premier League goal becomes available to stream to your mobile, over Wi-Fi or 3G, either the minute it’s been scored or, if it’s a Saturday kick off, then from 5.15pm that day which is when the UEFA protected window of time ends. So, that’s a full 5 hours before the same content becomes available for the first time on BBC’s Match of the Day.
The app is available on all smartphone platforms (yes, including WP7 and Nokia) and also delivers a running text commentary, statistics and starting line up for every game in the league. You’ll also receive alerts as the goals themselves come in to let you know that a new clip is available but you can filter them for just your club if you’d rather not be hassled by whatever’s going on at the wrong end of the country.
New features are set to be added as the season progresses with some interesting ideas at launch, including the ability to share goals by Facebook and Twitter as well as via BBM if you’re on a BlackBerry 7 OS smartphone. The big question, of course, is when ESPN Goals is coming to tablets, and currently it seems it's still up in the air.
"We’re looking at it. It would be a very good experience but at this time we don’t have a dedicated iPad version,” said ESPN International digital media vice president, Tom Gleeson.
"As much as anything, there's an issue of rights. We have the rights to do this on mobile devices but it's unclear as whether a tablet counts as mobile or a fixed computer."
“We’re committed to development for iPad but not necessarily for Goals. It’s a superb companion device to linear TV whether you want more information or if you don't happen to have control of the television in your house at the time. For example, it sounds insane but my wife doesn’t think that the US PGA golf is the best content available on a Saturday night. Crazy, I know."
ESPN Goals will be arriving on a phone near you in a matter of days and well in time for the Premier League season kick off on 13 August. From our early hands-on with the demo version, there's certainly plenty to get excited about. The software is clear, smooth, well designed and we're promised that the implementation is excellent across all platforms.
The streams will match your data connection at the time of requesting the videos but, even at the highest rates, the maximum quality will still be just short of Retina Display levels (640x960px). All the same, it looks like a good 'un. Fingers at the ready.