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Facebook’s ‘Sports Stadium’ to draw away sports fans from Twitter?

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January 22
3:05 AM 2016

The hardcore sports fans have yet another reason to rejoice. Facebook has just announced the launch of its dedicated space for enjoying a complete sports experience with realtime conversation. The Sports Stadium, as the name goes, is a virtual area where all 650 million Facebook sports fans can get together to like, comment, post pictures, look at the stats, and basically talk about their favorite teams and players.

According to VentureBeat, the company stated "Sports is a global interest that connects people around the world. This product makes connecting over sports more fun and engaging, and we'll continue listening to feedback to make it even better."

The live feeds and updates are almost identical to an ESPN app, but the Facebook features and add-ons are what makes it a different experience. The Sports Stadium has tabs like Matchup, Friends, Experts, and Stats, which tell you which of your friends are watching the game, along with direct access to expert comments from the teams as well as media personalities. Its carousel-like format will always let you see what the last five matches were.

GeekWire reflects Facebook's confidence in its newest endeavor. "With 650 million sports fans, Facebook is the world's largest stadium," said Steve Kafka, Product Manager. "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."

This wholesome sports experience is an attempt by Facebook to draw the followers of its largest competitor, Twitter. Generally, people tweet more when an exciting game is on, filling the Twitter space with realtime conversations. Facebook has rolled out its personal sports hub just in time for Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara. It only has American football games for now but plans to include other popular games like soccer and basketball very soon.

"It's a second-screen experience that we hope makes watching the broadcast even better," said Kafka, as mentioned in CIO.

Currently, this space is only available in iOS in the US, which will be extended to other platforms over the coming weeks. However, one beginner's hitch would be finding a particular game. The entire matchup has to be typed in and not just the name of one team, to reach the dedicated hub. Facebook promises that their team will be "surfacing new ways to get there as the product evolves."

For now, the social media giant does not have a content partner and has associated with a company called Sportradar to license the game data. In the meanwhile, it should watch out for the rival app, GameOn, which has just received financial backing from Snoop Dogg and describes itself as 'ESPN meets Whatsapp'.

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