Yesterday I attended a panel at #smwnyc called “The Interplay of Sports, Business, and Social Media.” The panel was great and highlighted how are the sports business is of the need to interact with fans via social media. One thing that really stuck out to me was how teams are using various analytics tools (e.g. SproutSocial) to determine WHICH fans to engage more directly, i.e the influencers. I am impressed that the usually slow-moving sports industry is keeping up. What I want to discuss here, however, is one element I thought missing from the panel — and this is partially because the participants were not on the content/production side of the business — a discussion of all of the innovative things being done to target the “second screen.”
The term “second screen” can refer to several things — if you’re at a live game, it can refer to your phone, for example — but mostly it refers to watching a game at home on TV while using another device (smartphone, tablet, laptop) at the same time to access information about the game/event/sport/team/etc. It’s an area the industry is clearly thinking about, but I have been consistently disappointed with the innovation here and I actually think that the established players are thinking in a kind of ossified way about this problem. For example, when asked about social-tv-watching (a second screen analog), one of the panel participants yesterday brought up GetGlue, the popular social-tv service. He described GetGlue’s future as a kind of “recommendation engine”, a sort of futuristic TV Guide. While I think this comparison/link is a reasonable one, I don’t understand why we must be so quick to pigeonhole new technologies and services into the roles that old technologies and services filled. Sure, the best analog among established services for what GetGlue is right now is a “recommendation engine”, but that doesn’t have to be the extent of it. Can’t we dream up something cooler?