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

Justin Pot 13-04-2013

ifttt and espnKeep up with your favorites sports team, however you like. The new ESPN channel for If This Then That (ifttt) means you can easily set up SMS, email and even phone notifications for your favorite teams. You could even automate Twitter to send up updates every time your favorite teams scores, if you want – the only limit is your own imagination.


You remember If This Then That, which allows you to combine any two web apps If This Then That: Connect & Automate Any Two Of Your Favorite Web Apps Connect any two of your favorite web apps in creative ways. A sort of "digital duct tape" according to Linden Tibbets, the app's creator, If This Then That (ifttt) lets you find new uses for... Read More by designing simple rules. All you need is a trigger – in this case, sports scores and events – and an Action – that is, where you’d like that sports score or event to go. Dozens of triggers mean you can use ifttt’s ESPN trigger to get sports updates just about anywhere. You can set up whatever notifications you like : every time a game involving your favorite team begins or ends, or even when news breaks about that team. You can set up as many notifications as you want, too – just keep creating rules.

This is the natural extension of an experiment ESPN and IFTTT offered during the Olympics last year, expect 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 probably already familiar with ifttt, but if not simply head to and sign up for an account. Register as many “channels” as you can, because the more channels you have the more possible combinations you can complete.

Let’s focus on ESPN, though. This channel can only be used as a “trigger” – that is, as the event that causes an action to happen. Create a new recipe and you’ll be presented with the standard ifttt formula:

ifttt and espn

Click “this”, then click the ESPN channel. You may need to agree to terms first, but once you do you’ll be presented with potential triggers:

ifttt sports scores

Your choices are:

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

Pick whatever sort of news you’re interested in getting updates for, and then – depending on which trigger you choose – you’ll be able to choose a league and (possibly) a team. The sports/leagues offered are:

  • 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

Your trigger created, you now must set up an Action (the “that” part of “if this then that”).

ifttt sports scores

You’ll be presented with a wide variety, but some will work better than others. If all you really want is to be notified when something critical happens in one of your sports, simply select email or SMS and you’ll be able to set up a custom text message. Here’s how that looks for final score, via SMS:

ifttt sports scores

By default you’ll see the “Alert Body”, which is the news ESPN is sending you, alongside the “Alert URL”, which presumably links back to ESPN. Remove whatever you don’t want, and know that you can add the name of the team and the time of publication for the information you were sent.

The process is basically the same for other Actions, and you can get really creative with this if you want. For example: you could set up a document in your Dropbox to always include the latest scores:

ifttt and espn

What could you do with a text file like that? You tell me. You could set it up to display on your desktop using Conky or Geektool GeekTool - Display System Information on Mac in Style Read More , or simply have a text document you can check anytime you want to know the score. It’s totally up to you.

You get the idea: be creative and there’s no end of places you could conceivably see sports scores. Heck,


This does raise a few questions. Would ESPN shut down a Twitter account that does nothing but tweet up-to-the-moment scores using IFTTT? I suppose not, so long as the links to ESPN are maintained, but only time will tell for sure. Let us know your predictions in the comments below – personally, I hope this service simply keeps working as is.

And while you’re commenting, please: let us know what kind of crazy brilliant recipes you’ve created using the new ESPN trigger. Links are much appreciated.

And of course, if you’d rather not roll your own notifications like this, you could just install ESPN’s Sportscenter Get Detailed Sports Scores And Stats With ESPN Scorecenter [Android & iOS] Whether you'd like to admit it or not, everyone has a favorite team in at least one sport. I follow multiple teams myself across different sports and always want to be able to follow their... Read More or Yahoo’s Sportacular on your Android or iOS device for instant sports updates. But if you’re looking for something more universal – not to mention more customizable – ifttt is the way to go.

Oh, and be sure to check out our other ifttt articles for more tips and tricks!

Image Credit: Hockey net and scoreboard by J.D.S. via Shutterstock

Explore more about: IFTTT, Sports.

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    April 16, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    This maybe an offshoot question, but would i be able to make an "IFTTT" recipe for managing multiple pages on Facebook?

    Like if i post a message on PAGE A, it would be later scheduled to be shared on the other pages that i manage.. Just curious! thank you!

    • justinpot
      April 17, 2013 at 1:57 pm

      I'm not sure IFTTT supports multiple pages...nope, just checked. You can't do this.

  2. null
    April 15, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    I hope this works during football season.

    • justinpot
      April 15, 2013 at 3:27 pm

      Plan is it will! How will you be using it?