Facebook launches real-time sports platform

Thu Jan 21, 2016 3:55pm EST
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(Reuters) - Facebook Inc is tackling the sports arena with a new platform called Facebook Sports Stadium, which the social media site said will provide real-time updates on games, popular posts from fans, statistics and commentary from experts.

"With 650 million sports fans, Facebook is the world's largest stadium," it wrote in a post on Wednesday announcing the feature.

Facebook, which said it had an average 1.01 billion active daily users as of September, reports its fourth-quarter earnings on Wednesday, Jan. 27.

The new service appears to be an effort to encroach on Twitter's territory. The micro-blogging site has long been a popular destination for so-called "live-tweeting" games.

MichaelAaron Flicker, president of XenoPsi, a New York City-based marketing firm, said the new product is Facebook's attempt at capturing "in the moment" engagement.

"They don't have that piece of the puzzle," Flicker said. "The challenge for Facebook is there are already a lot of communities (like Facebook Sports Stadium). This is not a unique offering."

Facebook Sports Stadium currently covers only American football games and comes ahead of next month's Super Bowl, on Feb. 7. But it will support other sports, including basketball and soccer, in the future, Facebook said.

The service can be accessed by searching for an individual game.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Dan Grebler and Sandra Maler)

A 3D plastic representation of the Facebook logo is seen in this illustration in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, May 13, 2015. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic