Facebook Going After ESPN With Sports Stadium [REPORT]

Sports fans talk as much trash as your average NBA player and Facebook is apparently no longer willing to let ESPN and Twitter to  dominate the “second screen” conversation.

Facebook Going After ESPN With Sports Stadium [REPORT]

Facebook Sports Stadium to begin roll-out today

For those that don’t watch sports, sometimes I truly think you’re missing out. When I’m visiting my family in Madison, Wisconsin where I grew up but have few friends remaining in that frozen tundra for what seems like half the year some times, I enjoy talking to people I don’t know in bars. Politics and religion are far from good icebreakers, but asking the guy or gal on the bar stool next to you: what the score is, how much time is left, or how is so and so playing are all pretty safe bets if you’re looking to start up a conversation with a stranger.

And if you ask about the Packers any time of the year in Wisconsin, you might never shut up the recipient of your question.

Point is, sports have a place beyond the game and with the amount of commercials in the average NFL game you’ll have plenty of time on your hands. More and more people use this free time to take to Twitter or ESPN to share their opinions with others watching the game and Facebook wants in on the action.

Facebook explains Sports Stadium in blog post

The job of announcing Sports Stadium fell on the shoulders of product manager Steve Kafka who took to Facebook’s website to explain the concept that is rolling out to iOS today in the United States to cover American football games. Facebook promises that it will roll out to additional platforms and include other sports like soccer and basketball in the near future. While the company only mentioned those two additional sports surely more will come in the immediate future and baseball set to begin in April.

Kafka explains:

“Today we’re launching the Facebook Sports Stadium, a dedicated place to experience sports in real-time with your friends and the world.

With 650 million sports fans, Facebook is the world’s largest stadium. People already turn to Facebook to celebrate, commiserate, and talk trash with their friends and other fans.

Now we’ve built a place devoted to sports so you can get the feeling you’re watching the game with your friends even when you aren’t together.”

With Facebook Sports Stadium, all the content on Facebook related to the game is in one place, and it comes in real time and appears chronologically. You can see:

  • Posts from your friends, and their comments on plays
  • Posts and commentary from experts, like teams, leagues and journalists, with easy access to their Pages
  • Live scores, stats and a play-by-play
  • Game info, like where to find the game on TV

“You can follow the action as the game unfolds with a live play-by-play, and even like, comment on, and share individual plays,” Kafka wrote. “You can also get up to speed quickly with live scores and the most discussed plays. It’s a second-screen experience that we hope makes watching the broadcast even better.”

Sports Stadium built into Facebook

Somewhat surprisingly, Facebook has opted to build Sports Stadium into the Facebook application. This bucks the trend of Facebook building standalone apps, but it’s not to say that this won’t change as more countries, sports and operating systems are added to Sports Stadium. Facebook over the last year or so has released the standalone apps: Messenger, Rooms, Paper, Camera among others.

This is not the first time Facebook has enjoyed success with sports, the World Cup finals in Brazil offered users an opportunity to chat in an environment not dissimilar to Sports Stadium.