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Fox Sports’ new baseball scorebug is awful

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The folks at Fox took something good and ruined it.

Fox Sports

If you watched Fox-TV’s coverage of the American League Division Series games between the White Sox and Astros and Red Sox and Rays on FS1 Thursday, you saw the premiere of Fox’s new baseball scorebug, which you can see above.

This tweet, sent out before Fox’s Thursday coverage began, shows the new (left) and old (right) Fox scorebugs side by side:

In the tweet, the “new” as shown is obviously a prototype, because the Phillies don’t have a pitcher named “Gallegos” and, well, scorebugs don’t usually show strike 3.

What you see in those two photos side-by-side shows clearly how Fox took one of the best graphic designs in sports and wrecked it.

The old box was clean and easy to read, with white text on a black (or team-color) background, and the baserunning diagram elegantly simple. The sans-serif type font is also easy on the eyes. That box is from last year’s World Series.

The new one? Ugh, just ugh. The diagram of the bases/baserunners looks like a stealth bomber gone wild, and the type font has unnecessary serifs on the numbers. The team logo in the background of the score is just busy, making the number occasionally hard to read. Here’s a reaction that sums up a lot of what I’ve seen:

It’s a truism in just about any business: Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. This certainly qualifies in that category.

Maybe you don’t care much about TV sports graphic design. As someone who worked in the business for 30 years, I do care, particularly because at one point in my TV directing career when a new graphics package was given to us by the design department and I tried to point out things I didn’t thing worked well, I was literally told this by a graphic designer: “You didn’t go to design school, you wouldn’t understand.”

Sigh.

Let me give props for a moment to Marquee Sports Network, whose design for their 2021 broadcast sportsbug is top-notch:

Marquee Sports Network

Now that is a good scorebug. The score stands out and is easy to read, the rest of the numbers are white on a dark-blue background and also clear, as are the baserunner indicators, and the bug resides in the upper left corner of the screen, which is a place your eye naturally goes.

Fox’s is in the lower right, which in my view isn’t ideal, but works all right. It’s just the design I don’t care for. We are, of course, stuck with this one for this year’s postseason. I personally hope Fox will switch back to their “old” 2017-21 look next year. It’s just better.

Poll

Fox Sports’ new baseball scorebug is...

  • 3%
    Fantastic!
    (16 votes)
  • 19%
    Meh
    (84 votes)
  • 59%
    Awful!
    (251 votes)
  • 16%
    Don’t care
    (69 votes)
  • 0%
    Something else (leave in comments)
    (3 votes)
423 votes total Vote Now