Are you the type of person for whom ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPN Deportes, Comcast SportsNet and the four major networks are not enough? Who subscribes to every available DirecTV sports package but still feels let down? Who thinks he or she is not getting enough from espn.com, CBS Sportsline and washingtonpost.com?
What are you, some sort of freak? Whatever your issues, perhaps it's time to sign up for either espn.com's or CBS Sportsline's subscription offering. ESPN.com's Insider package costs $39.95 a year or $6.95 a month and includes a subscription to ESPN the Magazine. CBS Sportsline's VIP service is $24.95 for a year or $14.95 for six months. Both are currently offering free trials (ESPN's is for one month; Sportsline's is for two weeks).
Both offer many of the same things: columns you can't read on the free sites and customized sports news and scores for your favorite teams (with links to stories about your teams in their local papers). But as far as content goes, ESPN wins going away. There's simply more of it.
For instance, the front page of ESPN Insider on Saturday had columns from Rod Gilmore about the Mike Williams situation and Randy Mueller, the former Saints and Seahawks GM, on the Giants' quarterback dilemma. You can also access stories from the latest ESPN the Magazine (such as Gene Wojciechowski's outstanding piece on Georgia defensive end David Pollack) and get links to stories from washingtonpost.com (which should be your first choice anyway, after, of course, you go out and buy the paper).
Front and center on Sportsline's VIP page? A story about hockey's World Cup for the three remaining hockey fans left in America.
Of course, you could go the cheap route and sign up for Yahoo's free service, which offers the same personalization and links to pay-for-play college broadcasts, plus columns from the likes of Larry Beil (remember him from ESPN?), Jack McDowell (remember his obscene gesture to Yankee Stadium fans?) and, um, Kerri Strug. Hey, you get what you pay for.
-- Matt Bonesteel