College football season is upon us. That means that Saturday’s are chock full of dozens of games, some of which are on TV, some of which aren’t, but even for the ones that there, the sheer quantity makes it difficult to keep track of them all at once without some assistance. There are a ton of iOS apps out there for tracking scores of games, but most lack a couple of key features for tracking games. It turns out these key features can be game changers.
ESPN is the “worldwide leader”, has it’s own general purpose scoreboard app, as well as a dedicated college football one, but both miss just slightly. Like most score tracking apps, both of them allow games to be filtered by conference, or ranked/unranked. The ESPN College Football app even takes it a step further by allowing a user to specify “My Games” which is a subset of games being played that day.
This seems great, but the screenshot above shows why it’s not. The horrible tweet bar on the right can’t be hidden. And the non-compact nature of the score boxes means that there aren’t all that many games visible at a time. This seems like it should be a key feature.
Enter CBS Sports. It improves upon these issues in every way. It includes a “Watchlist” that gives the functionality of ESPN, to view just a subset of specific games at a time, and also has a “compact” view of these games that means that many more games can fit on the screen at a time.
This is also a perfect view either as a companion for watching other live games, or when a person is out and about and trying to keep up on scores. After three weeks of using this, it has been a great, reliable experience.
Another thing that almost every score tracking application comes with these days are game alerts , in the form of push notifications. The aforementioned ESPN and CBS apps, plus MLB At-Bat are just a few examples of this. They tend to offer some customization like only firing alerts when the game starts, ends, points/runs are scored, after every so many innings/quarters and even alerts for if the game is close near the end. They all suffer from the same flaw. These alerts must be configured at either a game-by0game, or team-by-team basis. Apparently at no point has anyone thought that someone might want something at a higher level.
The people who created The Score app apparently have. Like the scoreboard apps discussed in the first section of this post, The Score allows users to drill down to a subset of games, top 25, a specific conference, etc. Unlike the other apps though, alerts can be toggled on/off at each one of these levels. This means that with one flip of a digital switch, someone can get push notifications for all games involving top 25 teams. The “every scoring play” alert is great for those particularly insane college football fans (presently company included), but game/start and “close game” alerts are probably useful to even casual fans.
After using this the last few weeks, it appeared there was a bug that would cause alerts to stop after the current week. When the alerts were turned on during week 4 though, it became clear why. The dialog clearly states that this alert set is only applicable for the specific week in question. This is actually pretty ingenious. This way the alerts just on in perpetuity, and since most people would probably use this when they won’t have easy access to scores another way, just turning it on for a week at time probably fits more people’s use cases.
Both of these apps are free, so cost isn’t a barrier. Both have many competitors, and likely lack some features that others look for. Maybe some people like the built-in video highlights and Twitter field of the ESPN College Football app1. But both of these apps brings things to the table other people missed on out. CBS Sports’ My Watchlist isn’t even limited to just one sport, it can include any game in the app, which means that fans of baseball can mix those games right in with their college and NFL games. It’s also intuitive enough to only group the current weeks/days games together, so it doesn’t have to be cleaned up each week, it just creates a new tab.
Overall these apps add some great features that might be useful to a lot of people.
- Even I have to admit that the video highlights are a sweet feature [↩]