Fanatic App Tells Out of Town Fans Where to Go

tN_133400_Fanatic social logo

Have you ever traveled to a distant city and been forced to miss watching your favorite team play because you did not want to watch the game in a sports bar filled with hostile fans? Well Fanatic has developed an app that helps like minded fans find each other and enjoy a game together.

The company is actually delivering its second iteration of the app, it first hit the market with a version that only supported iOS digital mobile devices late last January and now has expanded into the Android space as well.

The concept is very simply. A fan of a team, or league, can search for the top venues to watch that team in a specific city. So a Bears fan in Charlotte could seek out a bar that caters to fans that root for the team. Rankings will rise and fall as Fanatic users recommend sites for other fans. It recommends specific venues nearby based on a user’s location, sports interests and the team ranking of those venues.

It feature top venues for a wide range of leagues including NCAA football and basketball, the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and MLS, along with the top European soccer leagues, including the English Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, Serie A and the UEFA Champions League.

The company is currently developing a system that will have specific rewards for users. You will earn points for usage for such things as checking in and at some future time they will be redeemable for specific prizes.

This seems like a very good mixture of social media and sports, and as any fan that has been in a different city and wanted to watch their home team knows, some bars are hostile to out of town fans and some cater to them, the difficulty is finding them.

Microsoft Slowly Pushing So.Cl Social Media Engine to Public

Microsoft has expanded the scope of who can use its So.Cl (pronounced social) social media search technology to everybody after a quiet beta push, as it seeks to establish it as a mainstream player in the social media environment.

So.Cl is a search engine that is designed to find and share social media, enabling you to connect with other users that have similar searches and interests and hopefully create an engagement between the participants. It enables users to take an assortment of media such as video, texts and photos, combine them into posts and then share them.

It is one of the many efforts under development at the company’s FUSE Labs and Microsoft has taken a low and cautious rollout for the product, quite the opposite of some of its efforts in the past. The company designed the technology for students and select schools were the first beta sites including University of Washington and New York University.

The student focus is intentional as the company has said that it believes that the features of the program reflect on how schools are teaching and how students are learning today, and not just computer science or technical students but for a range of scholastic focuses.

While focused on students I wonder how this will evolve, assuming that it does get off the ground. New sports blogs, apps for teaching players what to look for in an NFL defense, with commentary and past results listed in the frame? I have seen some pretty advanced sports pages and the ability to bring a large number of like minded fans, say baseball stat people, with live video examples etc.. could be compelling.

The effort was decidedly low key and that of course might have simply been because Microsoft did not want to try to be heard over all of the noise coming from the Facebook IPO or just because it is taking a different approach to establishing the technology.

So far it has had mixed reviews (I have not tried it yet) with Digital Trends decidedly unimpressed and with Cnet much more impressed with all of the features that the service provides.

Want to Follow the French Open Online or Mobile? Here is how

The French Open has started today with warmup match play and as with the Australian Open there is a wide range of options for fans looking to follow the tournament played at Roland-Garros that will run until June 10th.

To start with is a very nicely designed web page, that is easy to navigate and clearly explains where you going. There are nice minor touches such as providing the weather in Paris as well as the time. Then there are the more expected features such as listing the draws, providing past scores and live updates, as well as a number of guides to the event, the players as well as a radio feature.

In the Fan Zone there are a number of photo contests including Fan of the Day and Guess Who as well as a daily quiz and regular blog postings. You can follow the Twitter feed at Rolandgarros and of course there is also a Facebook and Google + page as well

For the truly mobile there is an updated free app for both iOS and Android users called Roland-Garros 2012. It features a 3D tour of the facility and has games that users can play and post scores from. Starting on May 25th the app will also provide all the Twitter feed from the stadium, Facebook connectivity and real time statistics.

Also included will be results schedules, draws, news, videos and interviews as well as match alerts for up to 5 players. Included in the video provided will be daily highlights of the day’s events.

For those that have the opportunity to watch matches at home on the television the matches will be carried by a variety of networks in the United States including ESPN 2, NBC, The Tennis Channel and TV5.

NHL expands Digital Presence for Stanley Cup Playoffs

We don’t talk that much about the NHL around here, we enjoy hockey but it does seem to generate less social media buzz than other sports, at least around the digital corners I hang out at. Still I found this piece from the Sports Business News interesting about hockey’s latest push into the digital market.

I was surprised at how much activity the league has in regards to using social media for fan interaction, and that is something I will have to keep a closer eye on going forward, but you can still vote for the cover of Electronic Arts’ NHL 13 cover, for instance.

Anyway the league has released a number of offerings that are designed to entice fans as the Stanley Cup approaches, and while the playoffs are already well under way it still good to recount a few of the efforts, even if my team was once again eliminated in the first round.

There is a Daily Digital Video Shorts which calls for the league to deliver videos on the action, twoce a day seven days a week. I wonder if the Hossa hit made the cut? They will be two official releases a day- the “Stanley Cup Countdown,” available immediately after the night’s games are completed, and an afternoon edition that it is calling “Melrose’s Place.” Really?

Then there is NHL Social which is an umbrella effort for its social media including Facebook and Twitter. It said that it has experienced a 211% increase in social followings in the last three years. You can grow a virtual beard in honor of the players’ tradition of doing so with real hair, submit photos for fan photo mosaics, and Locker Room Postcards, a polite way to needle your friends when their team is eliminated.

There is more available and go take a look and see, even if your team has once again been eliminated.

Want to Spout off About the Draft? CBSSports Wants to Hear From You!

Have you ever watched some talking head spout some nonsense on television, say about the qualities or lack thereof in a football player being drafted? Well CBS Sports is grabbing hold of social media and will allow you to have your say- within reason of course.

CBS Sports has set up an interactive 2012 Draft Day program, rather than fill the airwaves with two days of people explaining why Team A was wrong in selecting Player B because on this expert’s mock draft the player is not even a 3rd rounder, and so on and so forth.

While it does have the usual suspects, NFL insiders, draft experts and college football mavens, it has a number of systems in place to allow you to comment about the events as they unfold. The show will include two sets, one that is dedicated to following social media such as Twitter feeds and Facebook, and highlighting the current hot conversations. The set will also have live interaction with fans and have snap polls to get instant feedback on events.

Manning the social desk will be moderator Lindsay McCormick along with’s Senior NFL Columnist Pete Prisco along with Senior NFL Blogger Will Brinson.

On the second set will be what viewers have become accustomed to over the years, where we see the draft as it unfolds, hear commentary and analysis from the experts on the picks and listen to prediction on who each team will draft to fill important voids in their lineups.

The more mainstream set will feature Jason Horowitz as master of ceremonies along with College Football Insider Bruce Feldman and NFL Draft expert Rob Rang, and former St. Louis Rams General Manager Billy Devaney. If you are away from your television during the draft CBS Sports Mobile iPhone users can watch live streaming coverage of Draft.

This is a great way to use social media to your advantage. The huge growth in the draft just highlights how interested fans are in their teams and the moves that they make. My allowing them to have a say simply makes them even more involved.

ESPN Gameday Contest Draws Fan Interest — Maybe Too Much Interest?

Any but the most casual college football fan has seen the throngs at the ESPN College Gameday sets, with fans in the background hoisting all sorts of signs, occasionally ones that are risqué or outright rude, and during the course of the week we see lots of ads for the program.

Now fans can influence where the ads will be shot in a clever little contest that ESPN and Facebook are hosting that enables fans to vote once a day for their school of choice. The winning school will have a Gameday ad shot on campus and it will include students from that school.There are a total of 120 schools involved and you can vote over at Facebook or ESPN GamedayVote.

I really like the contest on a number of levels. It should generate a great deal of attention between rival schools and rival contests. A quick look at some of the blogs out there already have battle cries that call for votes or else.

For ESPN it just brings additional attention to its football programming, and at a time that it is not usually on the minds of fans. It seems to have already taken off since the ESPN Vote page, and the Facebook one, as of this writing, has been overwhelmed and are down while it verifies the votes. I suspect that it will just get busier before this is all over.

The one flaw seems to be that the powers that be underestimated the popularity of the program. Looking at some of the posts on the Facebook page I noticed both accusations of cheating and complaints that votes were credited to the wrong team. I have to say that if I was in school and knew a hacker I might be so inclined to see if I could ‘rock the vote.’

I would really love to know where the votes are coming from, not in terms of schools and conferences, but are more voters coming from the Facebook page or the ESPN site? ESPN’s Facebook page has one million followers and so can be a tremendous force in this contest.