**As published at digiday:DAILY** What’s That App Called? ESPN 2010 World Cup Publisher: ESPN Price: Free Platform: iPhone Advertising: interactive display ads from Hyundai, Sony and Cisco when we used the app Functionality: A Fun Factor: B Overall: B If you ever want to know just how many seconds, minutes, hours and days must pass before the 2010 FIFA World Cup begins; ESPN’s got your back. So long as you have an iPhone or iPod Touch. By the time you read this, it will be slightly more than 86 days give or take a few hours, in case you’re wondering. The point is, by implementing a countdown clock marking kickoff, ESPN cleverly makes a play for reaching the increasingly anxious and excitable World Cup fan base well in advance of the global event. It’s simple yet engaging, but more importantly it just might make you want to come back often to check that clock.
Designed in the familiar ESPN app layout, the 2010 FIFA World Cup app runs a quick factoid across just below the clock and the ever-familiar ESPN ticker at the very bottom. Of course everything in the app is geared toward soccer … or football depending on where you hail from. The actual user navigation window comprises almost half of the screen and it’s a simple vertical menu of teams, news, fixtures/schedule, venues, tournament history and bracket predictor. The app lets users select multiple favorite teams from the pool of qualifiers and each section delivers what I’d expect. The venues and tournament history sections are particularly detailed. Unfortunately, there are no video clips to enjoy, and after a few minutes of quick browsing there’s nothing else to keep the user engaged. Meanwhile, the app is clean, informative and the familiar display ads that appeared in a few different sections of the app were unobtrusive. What I’m especially curious to see is what ESPN might have up their sleeve for the app as the tournament gets underway. A well-timed app update could add some simple interactive features by which ESPN could tap into World Cup mania and engage with its countless fans.