According to Bernhard Hauser, chatbots are “smart programs that can automatically communicate with users.” These programs are said to have great potential, especially since they are available on messenger services. We can now “communicate with a company just like with our best friends or family, with exactly the same application we use every day.”
The advantage for the user: chatbots are already in existing applications. One example is Facebook Messenger. More than 1 billion people use Messenger every month. More than 1 billion messages are sent out monthly between people and companies – this number has doubled in a year.
Since the platform opened, 18,000 messenger bots have been programmed. No wonder the sports business also benefits from the smart programs. Below are five exciting examples of chatbots in sports. The ultimate goal: to improve the fan experience.
When Facebook presented its chatbot platform in April 2016, the NBA also quickly presented its own bot. The time was favorable. Finally, the league wanted to present a solution for the NBA Finals. This solution debuted in the finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The NBA-Bot shows highlights of special players, moves and other events. The clips are played in Facebook Messenger itself. The bot provides links that direct the user to the official videos on NBA.com.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors provided their fans with a new technical assistant in time for the NBA Playoffs 2017.
The solution: a bot for the Facebook Messenger, based on artificial intelligence. Both fans in the arena and in front of the TV benefit from this. The technology partner of the NBA is Chatfuel.
The chatbot interacts with fans directly in the Facebook Messenger. It provides up-to-date news, highlights, player statistics, and help with ticket and merchandise purchases. For fans in the Oracle Arena, the bot can display updates on traffic or parking.
Jung von Matt / Sports & Oliver Kahn
A recent Horizont headline was: “Why Jung von Matt / Sports is making Oliver Kahn the Chatbot King.” Tipico is a sports betting company and they asked Jung von Matt / Sports to create a chatbot for them. Tipico was already using Oliver Kahn as a spokesman. Jung von Matt / Sports created a digital version of Kahn in the form of a chatbot. They now have their own a creative version of the German lottery.
The way betting works is the following: participants bet through Facebook. They have to guess the jersey numbers of the first six players that will score in the Saturday games of the German League that start at 15:30. The difference from the normal German lottery is that player numbers can occur more than once. For example, if you guess that player 10 will score first, you could win from any player with this number scoring first.
The winner can win € 100,000 by the end of the season. To reach this goal, users communicate with the chatbot Kahn to get day-to-day updates and improve their chances. It uses GIFs and humor to help animate interactions with users.
theScore became the first sports media company to offer a chatbot in 2016. The Canadian company has over three million fans on Facebook, and they focus on mobile.
The bot responds primarily to specific text commands. If you activate “Get updates,” the bot asks the user which team he wants to receive regular updates about. On this basis, the user receives news about his team in the Facebook feed.
Sports Illustrated had already created a bot for the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio. The makers then announced more bots for NFL fans. Fans should keep up to date and follow their team. A further goal: “Trash Talk” with family and friends.
The Sports Illustrated NFL Chatbot can be used via Telegram, Slack, Facebook Messenger and Skype. The SI Bots started sending updates with Top News on your favorite clubs twice a day. It continued by offering live scores and on-demand statistics.
The NFL Bot delivers video highlights, images, GIFs, and other media directly in the chat history. The approach can be performed as desired, eg to individual athletes. And also in the popular fantasy football, individual notifications could be exciting.