Not only has fall (almost) arrived, but an equally thrilling season has arrived as well. Only instead of pumpkin spice lattes, this one involves pigskin. Football season is now in full swing, and just in the nick of time, Sports Illustrated has launched four new bots to keep you posted on all that Sunday action no matter where you are or what application you use. Meet the new Sports Illustrated NFL bot by GameOn, which you can find on Telegram, Slack, Facebook Messenger, and Skype. Also soon to be released are the bots for Kik and iMessage, so you’ll never have an excuse for not following your favorite team.
Promising “unparalleled coverage of the NFL,” including “up-to-the-minute news, expert analysis, daily videos, breathtaking photos, and the renowned storytelling you expect from Sports Illustrated,” these new bots from GameOn will send superfans updates twice a day with the most pressing news from their favorite teams.
Bots have recently become a new way to enjoy all the action more closely than ever before, and GameOn founder and CEO Alex Beckman says that the technology is just getting started. “It would be very safe to say that over the next six months we can expect to see more sports start to make their way into this bot infrastructure — and features like the ability to follow players, in addition to teams or hot trending topics, like free agency or draft coverage etc,” Beckman told VentureBeat. “Basically, if it’s in the first 25 minutes of ESPN, you’ll be able to follow that story in GameOn and in our bots.”
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GameOn and Sports Illustrated already have proof of concept in their Olympic bot, which saw extensive usage, particularly in groups. “Of the 500 Skype users that added [the bot] in the first hour, over 90 percent had multiple teams … so there was a vitality sort of coefficient that was very exciting,” Beckman said.
Moreover, the integration of bots in messaging apps allowed fans to interact not only with the bot, but with one another in real-time as they received information. And you know what that means — a whole lot of smack talk. “Typically, in the past, I’d get a push notification from ESPN or some app, then I’d go to Twitter or Facebook; I’d be going from app to app trying to find where my friends are that are watching the game,” Beckman said of the old ways of talking trash. “There is a big difference between reading and typing where everyone is in the same window versus having to go and find different apps.”
So get ready, sports fans. The age of the sports bot is here, and it may change the way you watch games forever.