World Cup

Inspired by Martin's post about the official FIFA World Cup mobile web site, I went looking for other World Cup related mobile content. What follows is a list of what's out there right now. To help you find these sites on your phone I've put up a World Cup page on the yeswap.com mobile portal with links to these sites and will add any more that I see or hear about.

For those of you (mostly Americans) who have no idea what I'm talking about, The FIFA Football (soccer in the US) World Cup finals start June 9. Held every four years, the finals last for a month and involve 32 national teams - one of which will win the cup in the final match in Berlin on July 9th. The World Cup is enormously popular, in fact, it's the most watched sporting event in the world. The last one held four years ago drew a total television audience of over 38.8 billion - a billion plus tuned in for the final match alone. In comparison, the Summer Olympics draws about 4 billion total viewers.

  Yahoo FIFA  
The Official FIFA World Cup mobile site, hosted by Yahoo, is attractively designed and makes good use of color and images. Both layout and image size vary depending of which browser the site detects. It's strictly a WAP2 site, there is no official support for wml-only devices. I've put wml links to this site and several other WAP2-only sites on wml.yeswap.com - follow the menu to Sports/World Cup The html to wml conversion is via a transcoder I wrote. You can also use the Google transcoder to view the official site. Currently on the official site, there's a front page of general news articles, complete schedules of the matches and a page for each team with team roster and team-specific news articles. If you have a Yahoo account, you can login and customize the site by selecting your two favorite teams and two favorite players. If you do the customization thing, the Teams page shows just your two team's schedules and the two player's stats. You can still click an All Teams link to see the default teams page. Other features are a shop where you can buy World Cup themed ringtones, wallpapers and Java Games, a daily poll, a signup screen to receive SMS alerts and another page where you can send a link to the site to your buddies - also by SMS. Best of all ,the site has a (currently disabled) Live link - it looks like they will be providing live coverage of at least some of the matches.

Official FIFA mobile site by Yahoo: xhtml
Features: **** Usability: ****

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  BBC FIFA  
The BBC which always has excellent sports reporting has got their World Cup coverage up in two versions. The WAP1 edition has lots of well written in-depth stories illustrated with small (66px wide) .jpg and .gif images. The PDA edition has the same stories but with more and larger images (up to 200 px). Surprisingly the WAP1 site seems to have several features that are missing from the PDA site; a complete schedule and a "Player Rater" where you can vote for the best and worst players in each match and separate news pages for each of the 32 teams.

BBC World Cup: wml cHtml
Features: **** Usability: ****

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  Eurosport FIFA  
Eurosport, the big cable sports provider, has a mobile site which is one of my favorite sports sites. Eurosport limits itself to reporting the news on it's mobile site; there are no games, alerts or even schedules on the site. Articles are however original, well-written and in depth. The World Cup page has four to six articles, each illustrated with a image. Eurosport is another site which understands that it's important to tailor content, especially images to fit the various mobile browsers, images vary from 120px to 240px wide based on browser detection.

Eurosport World Cup: cHtml
Features: **** Usability: ****

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  Sky Sports FIFA  
Sky Sports, a British satellite TV provider has a World Cup page on their mobile site with news, schedules and player profiles. Sky has both a text only WAP1 site and a cHtml PDA site with the same text content enhanced with small images. Sky doesn't resize images based on browser capabilities but the images at 100px wide should not be a problem on even the smallest WAP2 screens. Navigation is another story, the PDA site has the full text of the lead story plus over a dozen links on the front page. The wml version of the site is much easier to navigate on mainstream phones but doesn't have the photos.

Sky Sports World Cup: cHtml wml
Features: **** Usability: ****

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  ESPN FIFA  
ESPN the US cable TV sports network, will be televising every match of the World Cup live for the first time this year. ESPN has also given their World Cup mobile web pages a new look and a different logo than the rest of the site. The World Cup articles so far are very short , less than 100 words and each is illustrated with a photo. In contrast, most of ESPN Mobile's articles on tennis, basketball, motor sports, etc have no photos but are much longer and more detailed, typically between 600 and 1200 words. While I like the images which at 100px wide are viewable on virtually any WAP2 phone, I'm disappointed by the tiny articles - really just summaries that leave you wanting more.

ESPN World Cup: xhtml-mp
Features: **** Usability: ****

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