When it comes to live televised events such the Golden Globes and the Super Bowl, Twitter is dominant in its ability to provide viewers with a place to follow and participate in the discussion of what's transpiring in real time. Hashtags and keywords surrounding these events spring up immediately and provide an easy way to check up on reactions to a crazy moment. Sports in particular are the perfect opportunity for this kind of second-screen action because there's a flow to every game that can completely change course in a second.
Facebook is probably pretty aware of this fact, which is why its announced Facebook Sports Stadium, a product that will create a hub around every big game that pulls in posts from relevant personalities, insights from analysts, stats, and play-by-play information. It's absolutely meant to compete with Twitter and even ESPN during huge events, and has the advantage of already being a place where 650 million sports fans go to "celebrate, commiserate, and talk trash with their friends and other fans," as a blog post announcing the launch points out.
Although it borrows a lot from Twitter — such as showing posts chronologically — Sports Stadium has plenty of its own unique features, like the ability to like, comment on and share individual plays. It'll be a part of the Facebook app as opposed to its own standalone experience and all you have to do to access it is search for a game as it's happening. The product is already live on iPhone and should come to other platforms in the "coming weeks."
On top of being a major challenge to Twitter and ESPN, this move indicates Facebook's emphasis on offering more to users in the moment. It's recently made a big push to allow celebrities and select media companies access to launch live video streams that fans can watch and comment on in real time, and boasts the biggest active user base of any major social network, giving it a leg up on snagging valuable live-action real estate across a number of verticals. Everyone wants to be where everyone else is, after all.
Cover image: Heath Alseike via Flickr