Facebook has a new app for sports fans with a simple mission – become the de-facto second screen option for sports fans while watching matches on their television. It’s not the first time Facebook has created an app to attract sports fans. Most notably in 2016, they launched “Facebook Sports Stadium” as a way to experience sporting events in a more real-time manner on the platform. The Facebook Watch portal has also heavily leaned on sporting content and live events.
The big question is will Venue become a success for Facebook or something that gains a little bit of traction before ultimately fizzling out? I’ll dive into all of that and how soccer teams, leagues, and broadcasters can leverage the app.
What is Venue?
With fans increasingly watching sporting events with their mobile phone in hand, there’s major opportunities for teams, leagues, broadcasters, and brands to reach fans in real-time. Twitter is the undisputed king of real-time social media and the sports industry is a major component. Facebook is looking to tap into those real-time conversations, and subsequently eyeballs, with its new Venue app that launched at the end of May. This past weekend the app launched with NASCAR taking the first lap.
Instead of the free-for-all nature of Twitter, the conversation around Sunday’s race was restricted to the specified “venue” with a designated host. NASCAR partnered with social media personality “nascarasm” for the inaugural venue, but have plans for additional races hosted by journalists, TV personalities, and even a driver.
The most notable aspect of the inaugural event was no rich media coverage of the event – no live stream, no photos, no video highlights. There are however scoreboard updates and the host has the ability to create polls and questions for fans to participate in and provide their updates.
How can the soccer world leverage it?
The soccer world in America is ripe for different ways to utilize Venue to connect with fans. With dozens of professional teams across the country in various divisions, fans of the European clubs and leagues, the popularity of Liga MX, and men’s and women’s national teams, there are a bounty of opportunities. Here are a few ways the soccer world can use Venue:
- Major League Soccer could utilize a data analyst to discuss everything from xG to heat maps and more as a unique offering
- NBC and the Premier League could create a Venue around “deadline day” with one of their talents discussing the transfer business and providing updates in a rumor-free zone
- Liga MX can tap bi-lingual media personality to engage with fans across both Spanish and English language or create separate venues in each language
- The USWNT can bring in a former legend during the 2021 Olympic Games to talk about what it’s like representing your country in the Olympics and providing tactical analysis and insight
Will Venue catch on? It’s uniquely positioned in launching at a time with hardly any sports and most likely without any (or very limited) fans in stands for at least a few months. With the appetite for live sports and potential record television ratings once sports return, it will be interesting to see if Venue can succeed. As with working from home and Zoom calls, people have embraced new technology and apps to stay more connected and Venue could do that for Facebook and the sports world.
Categories: Social Media