Does 120 Sports deserve our attention? I was curious about 120 Sports as an alternative for ESPN. Knowing that it’s basically Sports Illustrated’s attempt to increase their media exposure I thought it may be worth trying out.
First, what is 120 Sports? 120 sports is an online streaming channel that provides highlights and commentary of sporting events in the United States. Think of it as a more subdued ESPN Sportscenter. Not only does 120 Sports stream on the web but it also has an app on the BIG 2 platforms (android and iOS).
I believe 120 Sports is trying to separate themselves from others like ESPN. The one thing I like the most is you don’t need a cable subscription to watch. ESPN is terrible at this and even though I could subscribe to a very overpriced cable plan that includes ESPN I STILL wouldn’t be able to watch it online without a VPN back to the United States. 120 Sports streams great for me. Both their website and their mobile app have had zero buffering issues. Plus, unlike NFL Now, 120 Sports plays highlights, shows just 15 second ads occasional and doesn’t charge.
Another huge difference is with the layout of the mobile app. They have a layout of video either on the top third of the screen or left side if you hold your device in landscape mode. To get full video you just swipe to the right in landscape. The rest of the screen is used to show twitter feeds of that particular topic. I like the concept but the whole swiping thing doesn’t always work for me and according to the reviews on the play.google.com site it doesn’t work at all on some phones. The videos that a person chooses is limited to the parts recently talked about on their video channel. The best way I can describe it is if you are looking down a page at the headlines you just read the headlines until you find one you want to know more about. You click that one headline to either watch or read more about it. It works that same way here except that each “headline” is a segment recently talked about on 120 Sports. Another way to think about it is how the topics scroll on ESPNews on the side of the screen.
Besides the above there is also a trending, timeline, catch-up and following options in the menu.
- Timeline starts off with a “watch live” option at the top of the screen and each box will be the previous topic being discussed. In other words, just like the main part of the app but in chronological order
- Catch-Up – I honestly don’t know how this one is organized. It seems to be the ones most popular
- Trending – This screen lists the names of people are trending on twitter. For example the top 3 this morning is Brian Hoyer, Jim Kelly, Le’Veon Bell.
- Following – It states “Navigate to search or trending and tap the FOLLOW button to add a topic to your following list.” This should help make a custom channel.
To answer the original question that I presented, “Does 120 Sports Deserve Our Attention?” I think the answer is yes. With only about 10,000 downloads on Android that number is very low. I have no idea how many have downloaded it on iOS but I do know that costs are significantly cheaper than trying to break in with a cable show. 120 Sports has caught my attention and I check it out at least once each day. It’s the first sports app that has done that for me and I hate watching videos on the web! I hope it gains more traction or SI takes a long-term approach to it like they do with their articles written by highly talented writers.