Lexus Partners with NBC on NFL Hashtag Twitter Game

Count Lexus as one of the first major brands to dive into the sports social media gaming space, as the luxury auto maker has partnered with NBC Sports to produce a game that allows sports fans interact with sports trivia and win prizes during the NFL Playoffs.

Called TweetDrive Engineered by Lexus, the promotion is essentially a “social media activation tool,” according to an AutoGuide report. Sports fan register with Twitter, follow the game during NBC broadcasts of NFL football games and tweet answers to trivia questions to #LexusTweetDrive. Each correct answer delivers yards toward a touchdown, and each touchdown enters fans into a drawing for two tickets to a 2012 NBC Sports sporting event.

The move is significant because it marks the expansion of brand advertising during sporting events into social media tie-ins. Super Bowl XLVI on February 5 will mark the first time Lexus has advertised during the NFL Championship game, and that it felt the necessity to include a Twitter tie-in is likely to be matched by other brands in the years to come. That means a growing number of consumers will not only be watching the game at parties in coming years, but interaction with a smart phones or tablet during the game will become a standard practice.

Lexus Vice President of Marketing Brian Smith announced the program.

“TweetDrive Engineered by Lexus offers a unique way to challenge sports fans to put their knowledge about football and social media to the test,” Smith said. “There is a lot of excitement about football this time of year and Lexus is pleased to join in the action through this program.”

In engineering the campaign, Smith moved quickly to put Lexus out front of social media promotion tied to Super Bowl commercials. He was named Lexus’ marketing chief in September after Toyota hired former Lexus executive Dave Nordstrom to head its social media strategies, according to a Lexus Enthusiast report.

Lexus VP of Marketing Brian Smith breaks new ground with social media campaign during Super Bowl

StatSmack Provides Legitimate Breakthrough in Sports Social Media

StatSheet has launched something simple, and simply ingenious, to the sports social media public.

Called StatSmack, and available online, through App Store and Android Market, the service allows sports fans to select their favorite team and an opponent from drop-down boxes, and access statistics that will make their tweets more relevant, edgier, and cutting.

Why StatSmack is a Big Deal

This is a legitimate breakthrough in sports social media.

Today, whether following a twitter stream or a game space for social media interaction, you’ll notice that the majority of people are not that creative when it comes to what they share.

During a New England Patriots versus New York Giants game, it would not be surprising to see 70 percent or more of all tweets saying nothing more than “Go Patriots” or “Go Giants,”  for example.

StatSmack pulls information from wide and various sources to give people edgy perspective, and ideas about what they might tweet about. It uses artificial intelligence to scour the Internet for statistics to construct the tweets, which can range from traditional sports statistics, to average heights and weights of players to city crime statistics.

StatSmack in Action

Using StatSmack, here are some of the 15 tweets a Giants fan could get online, on their smart phone or on their tablet:

Allow me to direct you to the scoreboard. Last time they played, the Giants beat the Patriots by 4 points (Nov. 6, 2011).

The giants sacks leader (Jason Pierre Paul w/16.5) is better than the Patriots sacks leader (Mark Anderson w/10.0)

More people watch the Giants than the Patriots (TV market rank: #1 versus #7)

A Patriots fan would get 32 smacks in a display that looks like this:

 StatSmack in Social Media

StatSmack has implications for sports social media in many ways.

Today, such companies as GiveMojo are creating game spaces out of Twitter streams. In those scenarios, tweet volume and the quality of tweets are counted and refereed, with teams competing during games to see which team outscores the other. StatSmack is an important new tool for those applications because it provides fodder for fans who otherwise might be stymied to come up with original things to say.

Automated Insights CEO Robbie Allen

In addition, StatSmack breaks new ground by landing what many other companies are still trying to reel in — sponsorship.

According to StatSheet founder and CEO Robbie Allen, a deal with a large financial services company has been signed to provide promoted smacks as part of the service. It marks one of the first times a sports social innovation has been quick to monetize, and could signal that other companies will have an easier time landing financial support in 2012.

“It worked out that we found the right sponsor at the right time,” Allen said, while declining to name the company because the deal has not been formally announced. “The big advantage for us that’s very difficult for other media companies to match is that we can embed the sponsor in the content.”

Media Company on the Rise

StatSheet’s release of StatSmack marks the continued rise of a media company to be reckoned with in years to come.

Part of Automated Insights, StatSheet uses artificial intelligence to transform publicly available statistics into articles, summaries and headlines in real time. Focused today on NCAA college basketball, Major League Baseball and the National Football League, StatSheet transforms the information into comprehensive coverage of individual teams, tailored to the fan’s point of view.

Venture funded to the tune of $5.3 million, Automated Insights has the potential to compete and partner with big media, including the ability to takes its automated approach to data collection to such sectors as financial services, according to an earlier Mobile Sports Report article.


Mobile Sports Gamblers Bet More and More Often, Report Says

In 2011, the average gambler using a mobile device to be on sports wagered 30 percent more and 29 percent more often than gamblers using desktop and laptop computers, according to a  just-released Sports Agent Blog report. And during the year, sports betting has become 50 percent of the global gaming marketplace.

With the price points of mobile phones and tablets declining, mobile sports betting will expand in 2012, and online gaming companies must improve mobile sports betting interfaces in order to continue to grow, Sports Agent Blog said.

The data was used to prompt online sports books to expand their development of applications for mobile devices. Today, most online sports books provide only an e-commerce user interface that allows access to their accounts, and betting. The use of sports social media and richer content is a necessity because the audience is valuable and growing, Sports Agent Blog said.

Traditionally, the mobile betting arm of an online gambling operator was situated as a utility piece for registered members…  It is very apparent that the use of mobile betting interfaces as a value added option for members is no longer a competitive position for operators to take.

Sky Sports Gets iPad Revamp

BSkyB released Friday a new iPad application for existing Sky Sports subscribers. Coupled with the launch, director of mobile David Gibbs declared 2012 “the year of the tablet.”

Called Sky Sports News for iPad, the new application gives Sky Sports subscribers free access to an expanded slate of video offerings, as well as customization. The application follows the trend by the major U.S. sports networks to provide better access to their content via mobile devices, or get left in the dust as niche sports viewing, sports social media, and sports applications gain in popularity.

If broadcast networks are unsuccessful in delivering compelling mobile and tablet viewing experiences to fans, they face the prospect of losing direct marketing opportunities during time outs, half times and television commercial breaks.

Gibbs said surging iPad demand prompted release of the new Sky Sports News for iPad application.

A video promo for Sky Sports’ new app can be accessed via David Gibbs blog post.



‘Hard Foul’ Sports Video Crests 6 Million Views

If you are a high-school sports official, and you don’t think your calls can’t earn a national spotlight, think again.

A YouTube video of an obscure high-school basketball game in Washington State is getting national attention because it shows a series of flagrant fouls. It was posted by a local fan, and shows two Connell High School basketball players hacking, clothes lining, and pushing Vanderbilt rivals. Since it was posted, the video has accumulated over 6 million views.

The video was taken by a local fan, who initially posted it to demonstrate the need for better officiating, according to a Seattle Times report.

The video underscores that any sporting event — not just nationally broadcast games — can gain the national spotlight, and could eventually lead to better standards in prep sports officiating.

If you like wrestling, this basketball video is worth watching:


Spothon Debuts Sports Social Media Viewing Application

Ready to slug it out with PlayUp and OneLouderApps is Japan-based Spothon, Inc., which allows people to interact on mobile devices at the same time they are using their mobile devices to watch a game.

Spothon is the latest in a growing list of mobile sports application developers looking for ways to enhance the sports fan’s viewing experience via mobile devices and tablets. All of them may be slightly ahead of the market because, although significant numbers of people are moving their viewing experience to mobile devices, sponsors and advertisers tend to be reluctant to step up with significant commitments to the direct marketing opportunities popular applications enable. Today, sponsorship and advertising dollars are centralized around big brands.

Spothon’s twist is that it allows people to participate within a virtual stadium, which is has dubbed “real view.”  Today, Spothon supports professional Soccer, Baseball, Football, Ice Hockey and Rugby. The application is available for Android.

Here’s a demo: