Earlier this month, Facebook announced that theScore will be the social media giant’s Messaging partner. The announcement came as part of F8, Facebook’s annual developer conference held in San Francisco.
As part of the partnership, theScore is building the first sports media messaging bot, which be able to push scores and sports news in real time to the sports fans among the 900 million people who use Facebook messenger. Much of the information the bot will push will be similar to what users could get on theScore app, but in real time messages, rather than opening an entirely new app on their phone.
Instead of bots spamming users with information that may not be pertinent to them, theScore’s bot will only message people who opt in to the service. Because of the intimacy people have with their phones, and the added layer of personal connection that comes with the medium of chat, theScore is trying to respect that part of the user experience.
“With bots, the user is in control, no unsolicited messages will ever be sent,” said Riaz Lalani, VP of product at theScore, who is spearheading the bots program.
“Because we respect that relationship with form factor and the medium, we put people in total control of what they receive from theScore bot on Facebook Messenger,” Lalani added.
As of now, theScore is the first sports media company to be building a bot for Facebook Messenger, and the first to be publically building messaging bots of any kind. theScore, which is the main challenger to ESPN in North America on mobile, sees bots as a revolutionary aspect of social media, and since sports are so personalized, it will allow for more relevant responses.
theScore hopes that the bots will give users a chance to get much of the same news they would on theScore app, but in a new and engaging way that no one has done before. In the first iteration, the bots will be mostly news distributors, but over time will become more capable of answering questions and actually chatting with users.
“As we continue to build on it, we plan on adding more layers of sophistication that will allow for more back and forth conversations,” said Lalani.
Though the first roll out won’t have much in the way of personality, it will allow users to answer back, and customize the kind of information they receive. For example, telling the bot what leagues they follow, and even what teams they want updates on.
“Just like theScore app, users can customize it to create an experience that’s individualized and relevant to them,” said Lalani.