Why ESPN didn't call its sports update app "SportsCenter" in the first place is beyond me. They seem to have rectified this with version 4.0 of the app, now named after the ubiquitous sports show. (Da-na-na, da-na-na.) The app was also updated with a new all-white interface and a standard slide-out menu.

2013-11-22 15.43.56 2013-11-22 15.43.09 2013-11-22 15.19.12

Oh, and ads. Lots of ads. While the previous version had in-network advertising at the bottom of the screen like a lot of free apps, this new one gets interstitial ads that pop up two or three times while scrolling through scores or updates, plus random pop-up ads. Thanks, ESPN, I don't see enough diamond commercials on Monday Night Football.

2013-11-22 15.40.57

Naturally you can add your favorite teams, and there's a pretty impressive selection of sports and conferences, including all the major pro and college sports from the US and more soccer leagues than any God-fearing American should recognize. A nifty alert function lets you select notifications for news, starting games, final stores, and even a "close game" so you'll know when to run to the nearest bar.

2013-11-22 15.40.00 2013-11-22 15.19.04

In addition to the usual scores you also get general news and videos, plus a "Now" tab, because ESPN would really like you to follow their sportscasters on Twitter. All in all it's an impressive update, but the intrusive advertising is a bummer that's quickly driving me back to Google Now. I wish there was a $1-5 paid option that offered the same experience without the interruptions.