Facebook Has a New Sports Section

Image courtesy of Facebook

Facebook wants to be the platform where fans congregate online to follow and discuss major sporting events in real-time.

The social networking giant on Wednesday launched a new section, called Facebook Sports Stadium, that is dedicated to live sports. The section won’t actually have live-streamed games, but it will give users live scores and statistics along with a stream of posts and comments from their friends and experts on games as they happen.

The product features multiple tabs: One will offer play-by-play game updates and scoring along with video content, while another is devoted to game-specific posts from users’ friends that appear chronologically. A third tab features commentary from “experts”—verified users such as journalists, athletes, and even team accounts—while the final tab reveals detailed game statistics.

According to Facebook’s (FB) announcement, “You can follow the action as the game unfolds with a live play-by-play, and even like, comment on, and share individual plays. You can also get up to speed quickly with live scores and the most discussed plays.”

With the launch of Facebook Sports Stadium, the company appears to be taking aim at rivals like Twitter (TWTR), which already attracts a large following of sports fans who want to discuss live sports in real-time. Twitter’s recently launched Moments tab was created to increase conversations around major live events of all stripes, but the product’s effectiveness has not yet been proven.

Sports Stadium’s launch came on the same day the company announced that it will work with TV ratings company Nielsen (NLSN) to show how Facebook users engage with television content on the social network. The company has also placed greater emphasis on attracting sports fans of late, including hosting a special live-stream event of a sports reality program featuring basketball superstar LeBron James before the current NBA season began.

Facebook Sports Stadium available only for U.S. iPhone users following American football games, which means it should get its first big test this weekend, with the AFC and NFC championship games scheduled for Sunday. The company said the product, which can currently be accessed by searching Facebook for a specific game, will become available on more platforms “in the coming weeks” and will eventually expand to cover other sports in additional countries.

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