For most sports fans, watching a game has always and will forever be a social event. NFL Sunday, March Madness, the Olympics, and anything involving the playoffs are much anticipated and social-centered affairs. While smartphones and Twitter in particular have connected sports fans around the world while watching games, one social network is attempting to streamline fandom, hoping it will occur exclusively within their online world.
The emerging network is called PlayUp, which is ostensibly a highly organized forum for fans to engage with one another while watching a game. It pairs live score updates and information with interested users in the hope that the users will want to interact.
For example, if you and your friends are watching the New York Yankees host the Boston Red Sox in primetime, but you are not all able to be in the same room, you can create a private virtual room where you will have the opportunity to banter, chide, tease, and bemoan the happenings of the game. You can send direct messages or post a comment for everyone to read, in either private or public forums.
It would seem that like Facebook, you can invite friends and connect with people, allowing messages to be sent and received when people come online. As well, you can create a profile that tells the world exactly what sports, teams, and athletes you truly enjoy.
One issue comes to mind instantly about chatting with strangers in a public forum, and that issue deals with the fact that lots of sports fans are stubborn and annoying. Truly, the passionate fan has no desire to engage in conversation with an equally passionate fan of an opposing team. Message boards on Fox Sports and ESPN are filled with nonsensical cheers and rants from random people, highlighting the worst of sports-talk call-in radio shows. If PlayUp were to succeed, it will likely be based on the ability to create private rooms to talk with people you know and actually like.
For better or worse, and it would seem for worse, Twitter has already incidentally become the go-to social network for sports fans when they are watching a game. Users can watch their feed fill up with a variety of comments and thoughts from anyone they want who are watching the same event. For the Super Bowl or big sporting events especially, with so many people watching, Twitter is the perfect medium to release your thoughts and read those of other who are experiencing the same exact thing.
PlayUp is playing off this trend, and hoping that users will go here to unleash their thoughts. There is much to be hopeful for, and the app seems to understand that a sports social network can’t go at it half-heartedly. It intends to follow every sporting event in the world, which it needs to do to attract and maintain fans. From professional leagues such as the NFL and the English Premiership that attract so much attention, to minor leagues and high school sports, the app needs to have every score possible.
From there it seems ripe to get people to join provided they need not to go elsewhere. If you can message, chat, and receive news all in one place, the network should do well. It would also seem this is just the beginning, as their site explains, with new features coming in time as it expands.
The mobile app can be found in the Apple store here