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ESPN makes APIs available to app builders

ESPN is making it easier for software developers to build mobile applications that access its sports content and data.

The network this week launched the ESPN Developer Center, a website that offers software programmers and producers the opportunity to join the company’s API (application programming interface) Program. The program provides access to ESPN content and data for the purpose of creating new web and mobile apps for sports fans.

At the launch, ESPN made available to the public its Headlines API, which allows independent developers to tap into hundreds of ESPN’s daily news stories covering dozens of sports and athletes. Developers seeking access to an ESPN API can now go to the ESPN Developer Center and request a developer key.

“The ESPN Developer Center allows us to scale more quickly and to reach more fans in new ways with the ESPN content they want,” said Jason Guenther, vice president of ESPN Digital Media Technology. “Making ESPN APIs available translates to more and better ESPN products for fans.”

ESPN’s new APIs are already part of mobile applications developed by news aggregators Pulse and Flipboard, as well as Foursquare’s location-based social networking app.

The Headlines API can be used to create apps for delivering ESPN stories to any smartphone or tablet, finding content related to an ESPN article and creating a Top Stories summary. Other APIs available include a Research Notes API, which gives strategic partners access to ESPN’s archive of exclusive sports facts and figures compiled by the ESPN Stats and Information Group.

An additional set of data available to select partners is in a private beta, including a Scores and Schedules API that provides start times, venues, competitors, scores and stats across every major sport, as well as APIs that offer standings, team and athlete information.

ESPN is showcasing its APIs and other digital media technology projects this week at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas.