An Apple iMac showing the Sports Bench Soccer homepage on a white desk in a white room

Sports Bench 2.1 has been released

Sports Bench 2.1 has been released!

This final major update for Sports Bench includes a number of new features and changes for both the plugin and main theme. While they aren’t nearly as drastic as the 2.0 update in September, it does bring in some cool new things to make your sports website that much better.

So let’s take a look at what you can expect when you update to Sports Bench 2.1.

What’s new with the Sports Bench plugin?

So what can you expect when you upgrade to version 2.1 for the plugin?

Well first off, the team pages now have a history feature to them. You should see in the team information section of the page a list of seasons that the team has played in the lead. Each year is a link to that year for the team. It will show the stats — both team and individual — as well as the roster and schedule for that year. And you can navigate to that page and year directly by adding <team page slug>/<team slug>/<year> essentially.

Also for soccer sites, there is now a play-by-play feature. In addition to goals and cards that you could already add, you can now add in corner kicks, fouls, shots saved, shots missed and more. And on the box score page, if the game is in progress, the game events list will sort by newest first, and new events will be added automatically through AJAX.

Finally, there have been a few other small minor updates and fixes to help make the plugin work better for your website.

What’s new with the Sports Bench main theme?

The updates for the theme aren’t quite as impressive, but there are a few things that you might enjoy.

The biggest update to the main theme is there is a new dark mode theme color option. This essentially changes the background to be black or sort of an off black color while the text changes to white. This can make it easier on the eyes when viewing the screen, especially at night. And it’s a nice option for you to have.

The other thing is that the theme has been updated to make sure it works with both the team history feature and the play-by-play feature. If you use the theme and the plugin, you won’t have to do anything for the team history feature.

And as always, there are a few other fixes and minor updates to make the theme work even better.

How to update to Sports Bench 2.1

Now that Sports Bench 2.2 is out, there are a few things you need to do to update to the latest version correctly.

First, make sure you take a backup of the website before updating. If your web host has backups as a feature, take one right before you update. Otherwise you can use a plugin by Updraft or BackupBuddy to do it for you.

Also, if possible you’ll want to test out the update in a test or staging environment. That way you can catch potential errors or conflicts without it affecting your live website.

If you do update and something breaks, please take a screenshot of the problem and then restore your backup. From there, use the Report an Issue form to report the issue to me. I will see what I can do to fix the problem.

Roadmap for Sports Bench 2.2

So with version 2.1 out of the way, it’s time to look forward to what might be coming in Sports Bench 2.2.

Right now, I am planning on continuing to work on the play-by-play feature with adding support for baseball for it. I don’t anticipate too many issues with it. If it’s easy enough, I might look at adding another sport as well. It just depends on how things go.

Also, I’m hoping to focus more on the blocks as well. I would like to create a better visual representation of what the block will look like on the editor side so you can better craft posts and pages without the default text that’s there right now. I also might see if I can break out some of the team and player page specific sections out into their own blocks if possible, but we’ll have to see about that.

The theme might see a few upgrades and changes, but I’m not sure what they will be at this moment. And both the theme and plugin will be tested with WordPress 5.9.

Right now the plan is to release Sports Bench 2.2 on Jan. 24, one day before WP 5.9 is released. But stay tuned to be blog for more information.

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