The BBC is to launch a new redesigned BBC Sport website which will focus on live coverage, as the UK gears up for what is likely to be an unforgettable year of sport in the country.

The new site will be going live some time in the early hours of tomorrow morning (Wednesday, February 1), so you’ll likely encounter the new layout when you first log-in tomorrow. The new design will be applied to all global variants of the BBC Sports site.

This is the first major update that BBC Sports online has had in almost a decade, and is indicative of the changing needs of sports fans as more licence-fee payers hit the World Wide Web to get real-time information on events as they happen.

With that in mind, live coverage will underpin the new design, with a heavy focus on text commentary covering key events, audio & video, and highly visual and immersive, up-to-the-second tables and stats.

Clean design

BBC Sport online is the most popular Internet sports service in the UK, pulling in almost 12 million users a week. And whilst we’ve not been able to properly check out the new site yet, we have had a glimpse at it, and it does seem to have a cleaner design, similar to what has already been introduced on other BBC sites such as News.

BBC Sport Redesign 520x652 BBC Sport online to relaunch with a new design, focusing on live sports coverage

We’re told that the new site will have a much better navigation that will make it much easier for users to find the content they’re looking for. Moreover, the BBC will be creating a “highly dynamic and interactive visualisations of all the sports data fans love: up to the minute league tables, athlete and player profiles, form guides and much more.”

The BBC is also introducing new social features to make content-sharing easier, and we’re told that ‘comment modules’ will be added in the coming months.

2012: A big year for sport in the UK

With the London Olympics only months away, and England taking part in the UEFA European Football Championships in Poland and the Ukraine, the BBC is clearly gearing up for the anticipated influx of sports-related traffic. We can expect to see a number of other big changes throughout this year, covering PCs, connected TVs and smartphones.

“The BBC has a proud tradition of leading the way in sports broadcasting, providing audiences with access to events as they happen and journalism of the highest quality,” says Barbara Slater, Director BBC Sport. “Audiences continue to turn to the BBC in the internet age, with BBC Sport firmly established as the UK’s most popular sports site with 11 million visitors a week”

Back in November we reported on the full public launch of the BBC’s new Homepage, which is the broadcaster’s third most popular section after News and Sport. Indeed, we noted at the time that the new design principles will be rolled out across many other BBC online services gradually, leading to what it called a “graphically-rich London 2012 Olympics digital offering”.

“This redesign, the first in a series of innovations planned for 2012, builds on our broadcasting heritage by putting live coverage at the heart of our online output in what is poised to be an unforgettable year in British sport,” adds Slater. “Whether it’s up-to-the second commentary, live video and audio, access to the latest stats, or sports journalism audiences can trust, we’re responding to the changing needs of our online audience – utilising the latest technology to provide licence-fee payers with a cutting-edge sports service of the highest quality.”