Every year, every season, there are moments that transcend sports and become a cultural event. And in the Social Media Era, the media reporting on it no longer controls the narrative of these moments, but rather they are formed organically through regular people who see, react, and digitally distribute their “OMG! Did you just see that!” statements.
Twitter has long been the forum for people’s visceral reactions to what they see live, but filtering the noise that accompanies this medium can be frustrating. There are also smaller sports moments, meaningful to the fan bases involved, but lacking the world beating power of the Fail Mary, Linsanity, or American Pharoah’s Triple Crown. Now Facebook, in their attempt to take over the world, has introduced a one-stop-shop for your sports moments called Facebook Sports Stadium.
Sports Stadium provides similar content like scores, in-game analysis, stats, etc., as other sports apps like ESPN; the difference lies in that Facebook will aggregate the information from users. Rightfully so, they see sports viewing as a community experience where near strangers come together with a common interest. The Sports Stadium app aims to simulate that experience of watching the game with your friends even though you may not be in the same room.
The app has the score at the top of the page with tabs that include “Matchup,” “Friends,” “Experts,” and “Stats.” Matchup is a summary of the game so far, while “Friends” is the live reaction of people you are connected with who are watching the game. “Experts” are verified pages like athletes, journalists, and celebrities.
Nearly half of Facebook’s 1.5 billion users are sports fans and this release should put other apps on notice. Their initial rollout is for American Football but the app will soon support other sports like soccer, basketball, and baseball. Where it stands apart is that it allows that instant connection with your friends over the immediate happenings of the biggest moments.
A lot of apps, like ESPN, are integrated with Twitter but the feeds often fail to connect you with significant information that enhances the experience. Their shortcomings are a result of what could be called, “too many cooks in the kitchen.” There’s no forum for you to see the content that matters most to you. Facebook’s mission is to change that and make all other scoring apps obsolete.
The beauty of Facebook’s play here is that all the content is already there. Users are posting their thoughts, opinions, and insights on a daily basis. All Facebook is doing is putting that content in one place for your viewing pleasure. The days where you had to toggle back and forth between scores and social media are gone. Now it all happens in the same place.
The overall goal is to give users something that compliments the viewing experience in the context of the people they connect with most. No other app out there can provide anything like that. Facebook may have just killed other sports apps with this initiative and something tells me they are happy to do it.