Facebook has created an app that’s designed to lure the eyeballs of sports fans from their televisions to their mobile devices.
The app, dubbed Venue, comes as fans increasingly watch games while holding a mobile device, or second screen, where they engage on platforms devoted to things like social media and sports betting.
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It’s designed to be a place where viewers can interact with well-known personalities such as journalists or athletes. Venue, which is available on iOS and Android in the U.S., will debut during Nascar’s May 31 Supermarket Heroes 500.
Here’s how it works: The commentators will host a so-called venue for each event, where they’ll provide commentary, pose questions or polls and participate in chats tied to a specific moment in the game.
Fans will be notified when there’s a new moment, enabling viewers to participate if they want to.
For upcoming Nascar races, for instance, the commentators will include driver Landon Cassill.
Nascar is one of the few professional sports leagues staging events during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nascar’s return earlier this month drew more than 6 million viewers, making it Fox’s most-watched non-Daytona 500 race since 2017.
“Digital spaces can connect us when we can’t be together in person,’’ said Ime Archibong, head of Facebook’s New Product Experimentation Team, “and Venue is one way to feel the energy of watching live events with other fans.’’
The NBA and NHL paused their seasons in March and are mulling when, and how, to return. If games resume it’s unlikely to be with fans in the arena.
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