Have you taken a look at ESPN.com lately? Seems Disney signed a cross promotion deal with MSN. As a result, the top banner and right banner are now promo areas for MSN. On my laptop, you can’t even see the right banner and all that the top one does is push content way down on the page. Oh yes, and of course the MSN stuff is visible while the rest of the page struggles to load.
In my frustration, I went over to FoxSports.com to check their site out. While I give them kudos for having a visually appealing site, it just isn’t very usable. One must click to see the headlines (something that any good news site has displayed on their homepage). If you click on a story and go back to the homepage, the headlines are gone again. At least they have a link back to the old Fox Sports site which is actually better.
I also checked out CNN/Sports Illustrated’s site. It was very usable with easy access to stories and benefits from its ties to one of my favorite news sites, CNN. However, it was plagued by pop-up banners for the magazine and also a massive advertisement header that bumps everything else down on the page. Another interesting note is that most of the stories on all three sites are by AP, and therefore the content is nearly identical on the sites. So in the end I guess I will still end up on ESPN, but mostly because none of the other sites were that much better.
In entertainment news, I enjoyed the movie Rat Race this weekend. It’s an over-the-top comedy by David Zucker. Performances were great across the board (though I was a bit surprised his mom didn’t make a cameo as she does in most of his films) and the story was good with the exception of the ending. I think it is tough to end movies that are so huge and over the top throughout. No matter what you come up with, it always seems to be short of expectations.