In its ongoing quest to be your hub for all things social and communication, Facebook is increasing its focus on sports after the social network announced a new feature to enable users to follow games and commentary around them.
‘Facebook Sports Stadium’ is a new destination inside the social network that includes play-by-play coverage of sports matches, alongside comments from a user’s Facebook friends, analysts and experts, alongside other game and play information. Think of it like ESPN or other score sites on social steroids. Sports are, by nature, among the most communicated topics on social networks, and by bringing all of these elements together, Facebook hopes to capitalize on that and increase user engagement — particularly around live events.
Twitter has nothing like the overall reach of Facebook — which claims 1.5 billion monthly users — but it is arguable the most effective way to follow live events online, and sports in particularly, thanks to its 140-character limit and fast-flow of chronological updates. Snapchat also covers some sporting events with its Live Stories feature. Facebook’s timeline is, by contrast, far less suited to real-time, hence this Sports Stadium is designed to the plug the gap around sports.
The feature is initially live in the U.S., where it is covering American football games and only available for users of the Facebook for iOS app. But, the social network said it “will support other sports around the world like basketball, soccer, and more soon” and expand the feature to other platforms “in the coming weeks.”
Facebook isn’t cramming it down the necks of users at this point either. Those who can access it will need to search for a game to find Facebook Sports Stadium, but the social network firm is planning to make the feature more visible and easily accessible in the future.
“Sports is a global interest that connects people around the world. This product makes connecting over sports more fun and engaging, and we will continue listening to feedback to make it even better,” Facebook said in a blog post.