ESPN is phasing in a new graphics package, first unveiled at the start of the College Bowl season in mid December. The new graphics so far have only surfaced for select Bowl games. For example, today’s ESPN 2 broadcast of the Outback Bowl was still using the older graphics package. Today’s Cotton Bowl, Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl broadcasts had the new graphics.
The new look resemble the new graphics used for “SportsCenter,” which debuted over the summer. Much like the new NBC Sports graphics unveiled today, the new ESPN graphics are bigger, bolder and shinier, obviously meant to take full advantage of large high definition displays.
With new graphics comes a new score bug, which is positioned in the lower-right corner of the screen. The score bug is big, if also not somewhat awkwardly designed. That doesn’t mean I don’t like the new score graphic, but its design allows for some wasted space, specifically to the right of the game’s score digits. The waste of space is relevant because real estate on any screen is limited, meaning graphics should be designed to convey necessary information that is easy to read, while using any allocated space as efficiently as possible.
One component about the new score bug I do like are the pop-up graphics that surface above the score bug to show added information relevant to what’s happening on the screen (i.e. the player who just scored the touchdown). Assuming this graphics package is eventually used for all other live sporting events, it will be interesting to see how it is implemented for other sports, specifically basketball and baseball.
The below screen shots, from both the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl show various uses of the new ESPN graphics package.