Cool Pick Hotel
Sports on the Net
Written by Wesley Tatters
In spite of all the predictable "Computer Nerd" stereotypes which are so often associ- ated with the Internet, a growing wave of Sports related sites are beginning to appear on the World Wide Web. Some of these sites contain information about a variety of sporting activities, while others are devoted to the delivery of sports scores, team or player profiles and competition rankings.
In this edition of Cool Pick Hotel, we check out some of the latest Sports related offerings.
SITE OF THE WEEK
Despite the fact that SportZone is one of the first true "pay for use" sites on the World Wide Web (more on this later), it is by far the most impressive sports site on the Inter- net. Everything about this site says the word "class".
For those of you who are not familiar with ESPN, first a bit of background. ESPN is a 24hour a day cable sports network based in the US. It is renowned for its comprehen- sive coverage of major international and domestic US-based sporting events.
SportZone was set up as a logical exten- sion of ESPN's broadcasting services. By taking advantage of ESPN's existing re- sources, SportZone brings play by play coverage of major US sporting events to the Internet. For example, if you are an NFL fan, there are play sheets, graphics and charts showing scoring drives, background interviews and all the latest locker room news. Baseball, Basketball and even sports like Golf, Sailing and Soccer are all covered, along with all the latest news from the ESPN Newsdesk.
There is one catch, however, to access SportZone you will need to pay either a monthly or yearly subscription fee. When you pay this fee, you will be given a pass- word and a user ID which you need to use whenever you visit the site. For some people this may be a turn off, but with the extensive sporting coverage provided by SportZone, the fee will, for most avid sporting fans, be a small price to pay. In reality, it is a bit like puchasing a sporting magazine where the pictures, video clips, stories, player stats and team standings are updated continually.
With over 70 percent of all web sites still based in the United States, many international visitors will be pleased to hear that not all of the Sports-related Web sites deal with just US sports.
The AUSPORT project, operated by the Australian Sporting Commission, is one such site. If you are interested in Rugby League, Cricket, Australian Rules Football or Net- ball, then this site is a good place to start your explorations. In fact all of the major and many of the lesser known sports played in Australia are featured on this site.
Apart from being a great source of in- formation about sports played in Australia, this site also contains an extensive collection of links to sport related sites and indexes in many other parts of the world.
Audionet has been making a name for
itself, in recent months, as the World Wide
Web equivalent of a radio station. By making
use of the realtime audio technology developed
One of the Audionet feature services revolves around the delivery of live sport broadcasts. Provided that you have at least a 14,400bps modem and a copy of RealAudio, you can listed to a play by play descriptions of major games and even events like the World Series while connected to the Internet. As with any program delivered by Real- Audio, the quality of the sound is greatly limited by the speed of your Internet connec- tion and its links to other sites, but as a novelty item, Audionet is definitely a winner.
Audionets sports programming is not limited to the broadcasting of games. There are also a variety of dedicated sports pro- grams available, such as "Lets talk Fishing", "Redskins Live!", "Pat O'brien on Sports", the "Hank 'The Hammer' Goldberg Show" and comments from the "Sports Brothers." On the other hand if you haven't got time to listen to a full program, you can choose from selected interviews with people such as George Foreman, Mike Ditka and Deion Sanders.
ESPN is not the only commercial sports group that have decided to make the move onto the World Wide Web. Sports Illustrated, the sports magazine of choice, also operates a web site which contains feature articles from the latest edition, and a number of Web only stories as well. Principal amongst the Web only features are the hourly news reports and up-to-the-minute team standings which are available by category for Basketball, Foot- ball, Baseball, Hockey, and Other Sports.
For NFL fans, the Season Preview area features team profiles, stats and players to watch out for in the coming season. In addi- tion, the NFL Classic area features an online Pro Football Almanac which includes: team by team results, historical and all time stats as well.
Natually, there are also a regularly updated collection of those famous sports photographs and images available for download as well. In fact the only thing missing seems to be a photo spread from the swimsuit issue, but then again, that's al- ready available everywhere else on the Internet.
JUST FOR THE HECK OF IT
As a special bonus, this week, I have included a site that really shows how diverse the World Wide Web is, and also makes the point that if you want to get global recogni- tion for just about anything, then the Web is the place to start.
For those of you who don't know what Footbag is, maybe you have heard the term Hackysack. If not, basically the whole sport revolves around kicked a small bag filled with rice, beads, gravel, sand or whatever, up into the air. Sounds like fun, huh ? There are individual and team competitions, freestyle footbag challenges, and a yearly Interna- tional challenge. If you want to find out more about this exciting sport then the Footbag WorldWide site is the place to start.
Apart from the novelty of the sport, this site also provides a very good example of what can be done on the World Wide Web. Apart from the mandatory links to other Footbag related sites, comprehensive tutori- als, competition rules and playing tips there are also a number of movie clips ( just in case you haven't got the idea yet) that dem- onstrate the finer skills of footbagging.
Finally, Cool Pick Hotel is looking for your input. While we spend many hours each week combing the World Wide Web looking for cool sites, with thousands of new pages begin added each day, there may be sites that you have encountered which deserve our attention.
If you have located such a site, or maybe have an idea for a Cool Pick Hotel feature topic, why not drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. To make sure that your message catches my attention, place the worlds COOL PICK HOTEL in the subject.
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