Facebook Apps Bring The March Madness Home

By Justin Lafferty 

Sunday, 68 teams will be selected to play in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship tournament — a time of year known as March Madness. Monday, people all over the country will be filling out brackets in office pools, picking the winners of all of those college basketball games. But with dozens of games going on, how can the casual fan keep track? There are some great Facebook-integrated applications that allow fans to get closer to the game, whether they’re following their alma maters, or just seeing if their brackets will survive the first round.

NCAA March Madness Live, the official mobile and desktop app of the tournament, allows users to not only watch games online and on their phones, but to check in on Facebook and let their friends know which games they’re watching. The app automatically checks users in to any games they watch for more than 10 seconds, but this feature can be turned off, and check-ins can be managed manually on Facebook.

Facebook-connected users can also chat with other fans watching games, as well as read a live Twitter feed.

SportStream is a comprehensive app that allows casual fans and die-hard alumni to follow games through photos and Facebook posts from their friends and trusted sources. Fans can select any NCAA men’s basketball game (CEO Bob Morgan said it hopes to add women’s games in the future, too) and get live scoring updates and Facebook posts and tweets from the team’s official Facebook pages, as well as beat writers, experts, blogs, and their friends.

The app will also alert users if games are close or exciting, so users can switch over to track those games.

PocketBracket (which launched its Android app Wednesday) allows users to create March Madness brackets and share them with their friends on Facebook. Fans can also keep track of games and see how well their brackets are holding up. And users can post to Facebook to brag about how well they’re doing, or commiserate about their poor choices.

Morgan talked with AllFacebook about how these second-screen apps make for a better basketball viewing experience:

There are a few different things happening with the second-screen experience that help you as a fan … You may not know much about your opponent, so there’s pregame editorial stuff and video previews that are super-helpful to get your mind around the game. There’s also the ability to follow the commentary from people covering your team and covering your opponent. It’s a chance to get more flavor and some kind of perspective on your opponent’s side of things, which is really helpful.

Readers: What apps do you use during March Madness?

Photo courtesy of Balazs Toth | Dreamstime.com.