Turn Your Email, SMS Inbox, Or Anything Into A Scoreboard With IFTTT And ESPN

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Turn Your Email, SMS Inbox, Or Anything Into A Scoreboard With IFTTT And ESPN

Follow your favorite sports team anyway you like. With the new If This Then That (ifttt) ESPN channel, you can simply set up SMS, email, and even phone alerts for your favorite teams. If you wish, you could even automate Twitter to send out updates whenever your favorite team scores – the only limit is your own creativity.

You’ve probably heard of If This Then That, which enables you to integrate any two web applications by creating simple rules. All you need is a trigger (in this example, sports scores and events) and an action (where you want that sports score or event to go). With dozens of triggers, you may utilize ifttt’s ESPN trigger to receive sports updates from almost anyplace. You may choose to get alerts whenever a game featuring your favorite team starts or finishes, or even when news about that club breaks. You may also create as many rules as you like to get alerts.

The ESPN trigger for ifttt is a natural extension of an experiment ESPN and IFTTT offered during the Olympics last year, except now the Disney-owned TV sports station is offering online updates from a variety of different leagues – from North America’s NFL (American football), MLB (baseball), NBA (basketball), and NHL (hockey) to the top European soccer (football) leagues, the ESPN trigger for ifttt allows you to stay up to date however you like.

Creating The Ultimate Sports Recipe

If you’re reading this, you’re presumably already acquainted with ifttt; if not, go to ifttt.com and create an account. Register as many “channels” as you possibly can, since the more channels you have, the more combinations you can fulfill.

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But let’s stick with ESPN. This channel may only be used as a “trigger,” or the occurrence that triggers an action to take place. When you create a new recipe, you’ll be given the usual ifttt formula:

Click “this” and then the ESPN channel. You may need to initially agree to conditions, but after you do, you will be offered with various triggers:

Your choices are:

  • Breaking top news
  • Breaking news for sport
  • Breaking news for team
  • New game start
  • New in-game update
  • New final score

Choose the kind of news for which you want to get updates, and then, depending on whatever trigger you choose, you’ll be able to select a league and (potentially) a team. The following sports/leagues are available:

  • NFL
  • MLB
  • NBA
  • WNBA
  • NHL
  • College Football
  • Men’s College Basketball
  • Women’s College Basketball
  • MLS
  • Barclays Premier League
  • Spanish Primera Division
  • German Bundesliga
  • Italia Serie A

You must now construct an action for your trigger (the “that” part of “if this then that”).

There will be many options provided to you, but some will work better than others. If all you want is to get alerted when anything important occurs in one of your sports, just choose email or SMS and you’ll be able to put up a personalized text message. Here’s how the final score appears through SMS:

By default, you’ll see the “Alert Body,” which is the news from ESPN, as well as the “Alert URL,” which presumably leads back to ESPN. Remove anything you don’t want, and remember that you may include the team’s name and the date and time of publication for the material you were supplied.

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The technique is much the same for other Actions, and you can be as creative as you want with this. For example, you might create a Dropbox document that constantly includes the most recent scores:

What could you do with such a text file? You decide. You could use Conky or Geektool to have it appear on your desktop, or you could just have a text document that you can check whenever you want to know the score. It’s all up to you.

You get the idea: be imaginative, and there are an infinite number of locations you may possibly watch sports scores. Heck,


This does create a few concerns. Would ESPN deactivate a Twitter account that only tweets real-time scores using IFTTT? I presume not, as long as the ESPN connections remain active, but only time will tell. Let us know your predictions in the comments section below; personally, I hope this service continues to operate as it is.

And, while you’re at it, tell us what kinds of crazy clever recipes you’ve come up with utilizing the new ESPN trigger. Links are much appreciated.

If you don’t want to create your own alerts, you can always install ESPN’s Sportscenter or Yahoo’s Sportacular on your Android or iOS smartphone for immediate sports updates. However, if you want something more global, not to mention more configurable, ifttt is the way to go.

Oh, and for more ifttt tips and techniques, check out our other ifttt posts!

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