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Yahoo World Cup Site Surprisingly Lame June 14, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.

So far, Yahoo’s World Cup coverage is coming up small. I’m going to chalk it up to Yahoo’s being the official site blessed by world soccer’s organizing body, FIFA — “official” status often sounding a death knell for good sports journalism.

Stories are bland and predictable, in comparison with real journalism.

Stuff that Yahoo should do best, e.g., integrating with other Yahoo properties and applying Internet-ness (graphs, stats engines, configurability, multimedia blending) is distinctly unimpressive. My MyYahoo page doesn’t update in anywhere near real-time and frequently sorts scores by older dates. Player bios lacked photos until recently. The schedule view of matches is almost unusable, and the calendar version not much better. At least in the US, Mobile is weak — apologizing for its beta-hood. And much of the US World Cup media action should be optimized for at-work access, anyway.

There’s nothing that feels like the ability to fine-tune views if you’re a futbol newbie vs. an aficionado, which you’d think would be key.

Heck, the New York freaking Times is covering games with a real-time blog.

Memo to Terry Semel and Lloyd Braun: I’ve changed my mind (see last graf). When it next comes around, take a pass on the FIFA deal. Just like Oscars coverage, you’ll get loads of traffic without the dubious benefit of official sponsorship. If you want to brand-market, buy some billboards.

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