Frequent visitors to our tampabay.com/sports pages undoubtedly have noticed several enhancements we added to our site last week. For now, the changes affect our Sports home page, our Bucs/NFL page and our Rays/MLB page. But we'll be adding these improvements to our Lightning and college pages in the coming days and weeks. To help you better navigate the pages, and to understand some of our newest features, we've prepared this user's guide for our home page. If you're interested in Tampa Bay sports, we think this is the perfect place to start your online surfing, with up-to-the-minute news and blog posts from all our area teams. As always, let us know what you think of the changes and if there is anything else we can do to maintain tampabay.com as your online source for Tampa Bay sports.
Jack Sheppard, Times sports editor
Lead stories and video
This lead package now includes three tabbed elements — our Top local stories, Local video and National video.
Top local stories includes major stories that develop during the day, as well as many of our front-page news and features from that day's edition of the Times. The top five stories are displayed on the first page, and you can access more by using the scroll bar (click on the arrow) on the bottom right.
Local video displays videos we've produced about local and state teams, as well as news reports and commentary from Times staff writers and columnists. This is where you'll find postgame interviews with Rays and Lightning players, reports from our Bucs writers, video commentary from columnists Gary Shelton and John Romano, our Friday Night Rewind high school report, and interviews with USF, UF and FSU coaches and players.
National video displays the most recent videos provided by the Associated Press.
Local headlines displays up-to-the-minute breaking news stories, big and small, as they develop during the day. The most recent five stories are on display, with others available by hitting the "More posts" link.
National headlines displays the most recent five sports-related stories from the Associated Press.
Our most dynamic feature will continue to be Tom Jones' Two Cents blog, which offers strong opinions, offbeat stories, national slants on local teams, analysis of sports coverage on TV/radio and must-see videos of the day. If it's wild, wacky, controversial or the hot topic the day, the Two Cents blog is the place to find Tom's take. And it's constantly changing, so come early and often.
There are also links to the most recent columns by award-winning columnists Gary Shelton and John Romano, and access to their previous columns in our archives.
Our ticker includes breaking-news headlines, local scores, high school developments and reminders about upcoming live chats with Times staff writers. Click on each headline to get the details. It's worth checking out.
Click on the logos for links to the pages for each of our major teams and sports. The most frequently requested teams are displayed in the first window, and the scroll bar arrow at the right will take you to the rest.
You'll no longer have to click from blog to blog to get the latest breaking news on area teams, because we've developed a way to have all our most recent blog posts in one spot.
The Pro sports column displays the most recent posts on Bucs Beat (Bucs), the Heater (Rays) and Lightning Strikes (Lightning). Click on "More" to read the post.
The College sports column displays the most recent posts on USF Sports Bulletin (USF), Gator Report (UF) and Seminole Report (FSU).
And the High school sports column displays the most recent posts on our extremely popular HomeTeam blog.
We've added a number of features and links down the right side of the page that we think will be of great interest to area sports fans. Among them:
Today on TV: A complete list of each day's sporting events on channels offered as part of a basic subscription to local cable operators, along with where the events can be heard on the radio when applicable.
Live chats: A reminder about our next chat with a Times beat reporter or columnist, as well as links to replays of recent chats.
For the fans: Links to major ticket outlets.
Reader poll: A chance to vote in our polls about local teams and issues.
Live pro and college scoreboards: Links to live scoreboards for all major sports, provided by STATS Inc.
This week: A link to the hometown paper of the current Bucs, Rays, Lightning or college opponent. You'll also find useful links to some of the major national sports websites.
Contests: Last week we added FanDuel, a daily fantasy sports game that lets you make wagers (and win real money) using rosters of pro football, baseball, basketball and hockey players. We also have the Gridiron Challenge, a fantasy contest using NFL games.
College football: Links to local and national coverage of major teams, including stories, columns, blog posts and interactive polls. We have customized versions on our Gators, Bulls and Seminoles pages. Click on the "read more" bar to get to the college football home page.
This displays our most recent photo galleries, as well as audio slide shows such as columnist Gary Shelton's postgame analysis of the Bucs, our Kickin' Back profiles of players, and our weekly Florida, Florida State and USF football reports.
This is where you'll find some of our special project work: Bucs, Rays and Lighting season previews, college football previews, special reports on major topics such as the Rays stadium debate, and useful fan information such as stadium seating charts and parking lot maps.