Live-Action Gaming Is Coming

The past decade has seen an incredible transformation in what may best be described as entertainment-on-our-own-terms. From smartphones and tablets to time-delayed DVRs to digital music and video services to streaming of live programming, the trend in innovation has been to give consumers almost unlimited entertainment choice on what, when and where. Phrases like unbundled, cord […]

The past decade has seen an incredible transformation in what may best be described as entertainment-on-our-own-terms. From smartphones and tablets to time-delayed DVRs to digital music and video services to streaming of live programming, the trend in innovation has been to give consumers almost unlimited entertainment choice on what, when and where. Phrases like unbundled, cord cutter and over-the-top have entered the media and entertainment vernacular as companies engage in hand-to-hand combat to capture eyeballs and a share of the new consumer wallet.

Sports entertainment has experienced its own unique transformation with the explosion in ancillary content wrapped around the live sporting events.  Social media, fantasy sports, digital-only content properties like Bleacher Report, and specialized programming like NFL Red Zone have all served to draw more overall interest to sports. But this hasn’t always translated to higher consumption of the actual games. Our media partners refer to this effect as the 4-minute fan challenge. They have more viewers for most of their sports programming than ever before; the viewers are just watching less, because stats, highlights and commentary are widely available on their own terms.

Viewed through this lens, the question becomes, “How do you bring the consumer back to the live event, the live game, where we are asking them to consume content on our terms?”. This is an important question for media companies, leagues and teams as the variety and flexibility of entertainment choices only continues to grow.

At FanBeat we believe there’s a clear answer: You make the viewers, the sports fans, part of the game. FanBeat is making it a reality for live sporting events, while innovators like HQ Trivia are making it a reality for other types of live events like their special ‘The Voice’ game back in May.

Across our programs, we’ve demonstrated that fans playing-along on FanBeat watch 80-120% more of the live event because now they have a stake in the action. And with the imminent changes in sports gambling laws, Live-Action Gaming becomes even more interesting and exciting to American adults as free-play-for-prizes yields to pay-to-play-for-cash. FanBeat gives our player our player community a chance to “predict and win”. Here’s a prediction of our own. Live-Action Gaming is on its way to sports venue and living rooms around the country.

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Golf Channel and Callaway Transform the Viewing Experience

We are proud to be working with two innovative partners in Golf Channel (NBC) and Callaway as we take a big first step in transforming the way golf fans enjoy watching live golf action on TV. How many players will break par today? Who will hit it closest to the pin on the long par-three […]

We are proud to be working with two innovative partners in Golf Channel (NBC) and Callaway as we take a big first step in transforming the way golf fans enjoy watching live golf action on TV.

How many players will break par today? Who will hit it closest to the pin on the long par-three 17th? Henrik Stenson with a 20 foot putt for eagle – will he make it? Golf viewers can now play along and get in on the action, competing for more than $60,000 in Callaway equipment prizes. And if any player correctly answers all questions in a single round, he/she wins $1,000,000 (or a share if multiple players ace all the questions).

What’s the value to Golf Channel and NBC? We’ve now proven across more than 300 live sporting events that viewers playing a FanBeat Challenge watch more of the action – significantly more. And that translates directly to ratings and more advertising revenue across the property.

What’s the value to Callaway? Callaway has title sponsor branding on the most innovative play-along experience in sports and controls all the advertising inventory within the game – interstitial images and videos; branded questions; featured prize board products; and actionable promos. Callaway is able to create a unique dialogue with golf fans on the mobile device during the excitement of a tournament, amplifying the investment they are already making in the linear programming and in other digital assets.

We are looking forward to launching future national programs with other media, league and brand partners, but right now we are very excited and focused on making Callaway’s $1 Million FanBeat Challenge a highly engaging experience for golf fans and a valuable activation for our partners, Golf Channel and Callaway.

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Bulls $1 Million FanBeat Challenge!

We at FanBeat are very proud to partner with the Chicago Bulls and AT&T to offer the NBA’s most innovative – and most rewarding – live-action fan competition. Bulls fans all season have been answering a mix of predict-the-action and trivia questions for a chance to win some really cool prizes like game tickets, an […]

We at FanBeat are very proud to partner with the Chicago Bulls and AT&T to offer the NBA’s most innovative – and most rewarding – live-action fan competition.

Bulls fans all season have been answering a mix of predict-the-action and trivia questions for a chance to win some really cool prizes like game tickets, an autographed ball and jersey, and even use of a penthouse suite during a 2018-19 home game.

Then there’s the ultimate prize – $1 million to any Bulls fan who answers all questions correctly during a game. We haven’t had a big winner yet, but “GoBulls” got close during the December 4 Cavaliers game, answering 24 out of 28 questions correctly. And starting with the January 13 Pistons game, we’re making it even easier for a fan to claim the $1 million by limiting the game to 20 questions. Want to try it out? Check out the latest game.

The Bulls – and all our team, league and media partners – enjoy multiple benefits from the FanBeat program:

– Higher fan engagement (FanBeat players on average watch 91+ minutes of Bulls action per game)

– Personalized fan relationships (59% of Bulls FanBeat players register with an email address)

–  Incremental sponsor revenue (FanBeat programs are typically underwritten by sponsors – AT&T in the case of the Bulls)

If you are a team, league or media company interested in these benefits for your business, contact us at sales@fanbeat.com to learn more.

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Sending the final Braves FanBeat question of 2017

  In baseball, when the game’s over, they say, “The Braves have recorded the final out.” Here at FanBeat, we’ve sent the final question for the 2017 season. Earlier this fall, we wrapped up the second season of Braves FanBeat, sponsored by the Georgia Lottery and integrated into the MLB Ballpark app. Fans answered questions […]

 

In baseball, when the game’s over, they say, “The Braves have recorded the final out.”

Here at FanBeat, we’ve sent the final question for the 2017 season.

Earlier this fall, we wrapped up the second season of Braves FanBeat, sponsored by the Georgia Lottery and integrated into the MLB Ballpark app. Fans answered questions in real-time during each half inning of Braves home games to compete for a great line-up of prizes – like autographed balls, scratchers from the Georgia Lottery, live batting practice experiences with Braves players, a trip to spring training in 2018 and even a $5,000 cash prize from Georgia Lottery. (Congrats to this year’s winner Cheryl Warrender, who was the grand prize winner this year and had the check presented to her on the field at SunTrust Park).

Our newest prize was added mid-season with the introduction of the Georgia Lottery $1 Million Challenge. During every game, any user that answered all 28 questions correctly would win $1 million. While there were no winners this season, throughout the year a couple players came within a handful of correct answers of winning $1 million.

For the second straight year, FanBeat helped increase engagement for every Braves fan watching the game. Users love the opportunity to predict in real-time how the action will unfold on the field, while also testing their knowledge of their favorite team against other fans. Users who try the game love it and keep playing all season. The average user answered 60 percent of the total questions asked every night. In fact, for all of 2017, 51 percent of all users played the entire game, answering over 2/3 of the questions.

FanBeat’s value as an engagement tool is reflected not only in the numbers, but in the feedback from users. At the end of the season, Matt Traylor tweeted to FanBeat’s Twitter account, “Thanks for giving us baseball nerds an outlet to compete and make new friends, all while cheering on our favorite team.”

We are already looking forward to Opening Day 2018.

 

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Perfect Prize Launch

We are proud to be partnering with the Atlanta Braves and Georgia Lottery to offer the first ever live-action game “perfect prize”, $1 million in cash to any Braves fan who correctly answers all 28 questions during tonight’s Braves vs. Marlins game. Braves fans can play for free by accessing the FanBeat game from the MLB.com Ballpark […]

We are proud to be partnering with the Atlanta Braves and Georgia Lottery to offer the first ever live-action game “perfect prize”, $1 million in cash to any Braves fan who correctly answers all 28 questions during tonight’s Braves vs. Marlins game. Braves fans can play for free by accessing the FanBeat game from the MLB.com Ballpark app. We will be running this new promotion for the remaining 51 Braves home games this season.

In addition to the million dollar prize, the Braves and Georgia Lottery are continuing to give away other great prizes to top game performers like a VIP spring training trip, $5,000 in cash, autographed team jerseys, and a batting practice experience.

By giving Braves fans a “stake in the action” with predictive questions like “what will Matt Kemp do in his next at bat?”, FanBeat gives Braves fans an added incentive to enjoy more baseball action throughout the season. Georgia Lottery recognizes FanBeat as a unique platform for reaching Braves fans during the excitement of a live game with a variety of content ranging from informational messages about the Lottery’s contribution to education in Georgia to actionable promos highlighting their new Diggi Games.

The FanBeat team is hard at work on launches for other sports beyond Major League Baseball. The perfect prize raises the stakes and excitement level for fans, delivering significant engagement and value to our team, league, media and big-brand sponsors.

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Technology central to Braves’ innovative approach

    FanBeat is revolutionizing the way fans watch sports with real-time mobile gamification that lets fans play along while cheering on their favorite teams. It’s only fitting that we’ve partnered with the Atlanta Braves, named by SportsTechie as the most tech-savvy organization in MLB. Members of the FanBeat team got a tour of SunTrust […]

 

 

FanBeat is revolutionizing the way fans watch sports with real-time mobile gamification that lets fans play along while cheering on their favorite teams. It’s only fitting that we’ve partnered with the Atlanta Braves, named by SportsTechie as the most tech-savvy organization in MLB.

Members of the FanBeat team got a tour of SunTrust Park last Friday. (From left) in the picture above is FanBeat senior game producer Andrew Vogel, Braves coordinator of partnership services Laura Guest, Braves director of digital Greg Mize and FanBeat chief technology officer Mike Richards. In the pictures (from left) below are the BravesVision scoreboard in centerfield, the infield and the Delta out of town scoreboard in left field.

The opening of the new Braves stadium and The Battery Atlanta, the surrounding area around the park, is exciting from both a baseball and technology perspective. When SunTrust Park was built, the Braves’ mission was to offer fans the most technologically-advanced gameday experience not only in MLB, but in all of professional sports.

That starts with connectivity. SunTrust Park boasts 200 gigabits of Comcast Internet bandwidth, which is enough for over 41,000 fans to post a selfie to Instagram simultaneously at first pitch. This high-speed connectivity is delivered through over 250 miles of fiber-optic cable laid throughout SunTrust Park and The Battery Atlanta.

The Braves are also encouraging a “mobile-first” mindset, asking fans to purchase parking passes and access their tickets through the Ballpark app, then use Waze to navigate directly to their parking lot.

Also located within the MLB.com Ballpark app, you’ll find Braves FanBeat. After our 2016 test season at Turner Field, we are looking forward to an even bigger 2017 at SunTrust Park. Fans will love the way the game gives them a chance to play along in real-time with the action on the field and compete to win awesome prizes courtesy of the Braves and the exclusive Braves FanBeat presenting sponsor, Georgia Lottery.

Like the Braves, we’re hoping to make a little history of our own this season.

 

 

 

 

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A Spring Training Trip to Remember

At the end of the 2016 season, diehard Braves fan Mitch Campbell got to witness the final game at Turner Field – a 1-0 win over the Tigers. Campbell then experienced another thrilling win a few weeks later. In early November, Campbell was the winner of one of the Braves FanBeat season-prize drawings, eclipsing the […]


At the end of the 2016 season, diehard Braves fan Mitch Campbell got to witness the final game at Turner Field – a 1-0 win over the Tigers.

Campbell then experienced another thrilling win a few weeks later.

In early November, Campbell was the winner of one of the Braves FanBeat season-prize drawings, eclipsing the 75,000-point threshold and winning a trip to Braves spring training in 2017.

Before we look ahead to 2017, which should be an historic season as the Braves move into SunTrust Park with a squad that could be much-improved on the field, we caught up with Campbell, who traveled down to the Braves’ spring training complex in mid-March with his girlfriend Sway, an equally avid Braves fan.

Here’s a Q & A with Campbell on his trip down to Orlando, as well as some pics that he and Sway snapped while they were down there.

What was the most memorable part of your trip to spring training?

Honestly if I had to pick the most memorable part, it’d have to be the fact that it was the very first spring training experience for both of us. The Braves hold a very special place in our relationship. When Sway and I first started dating, a Braves game in hot Atlanta June was one of our first dates.

Which Braves are you most excited to watch this season and which new Brave are you most excited to see?

Ender Inciarte is my favorite. I just like the way that he is aggressive and smart in the outfield. Sway’s favorite is Nick Markakis.

I’m looking forward to watching Bartolo Colon do his thing on the mound this season. We watched him last year when the Mets were in town and he was a lot of fun to watch.

Any tips or strategies for other Braves FanBeat players playing the game this season? What were your most memorable or favorite questions from 2016?

We really enjoyed all the questions, especially the ones where you have to guess how the Braves will do within the next out or inning. As far as tips and strategies when playing the game, just have fun and play!

We’ve actually met great friends through this game. Last year we were playing along when I hear the guy behind me so enthused about Braves FanBeat also playing along. Come to find out it was Hugh T and we’ve been friends since then.

The Braves FanBeat team is excited for Opening Day and the opportunity to be part of the inaugural season at SunTrust Park. Be sure to play along by downloading the MLB Ballpark app, then clicking the Braves FanBeat icon inside the app. Look for questions in the app between innings this year and you could well win your own trip to spring training in 2018.

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Can the NFL compete for fans’ attention on a per-second basis?

Last month on the FanBeat blog, we looked at the much-discussed down NFL ratings. With the completion of the 2016 regular season, total NFL viewership was down 8 percent compared to 2015. Much of this had to do with the presidential election — viewership was down 14 percent for Weeks 1 through 9 — but […]

Last month on the FanBeat blog, we looked at the much-discussed down NFL ratings. With the completion of the 2016 regular season, total NFL viewership was down 8 percent compared to 2015. Much of this had to do with the presidential election — viewership was down 14 percent for Weeks 1 through 9 — but not all.

More people are spending less time watching the traditional linear broadcast and instead are viewing highlights, checking the box score online, and scanning Twitter for updates. Jacob Feldman’s Sports Illustrated article, published on Nov. 30, pointed out that the NFL’s audience is even more distracted – and fragmented – than we thought.

The thesis of Feldman’s piece is that the pace of a three-hour broadcast, loaded with advertisements, can’t keep up in a limited-attention-span digital era dominated by Tweets and Snapchat stories. Fans are still consuming NFL content, but they’re doing it by trash-talking friends of a rival team on Facebook or taking selfies in their favorite team’s jersey and posting to Instagram.

“Football has gone from dominating a day of the week to competing for fans on a per-second basis,” Feldman writes. “And now that our average attention span has fallen below that of a goldfish, the NFL is at risk of becoming a fish out of water in the digital era. After all, how can a three-hour game with 11 minutes of action compete with a Facebook feed individually tailored for maximum engagement? What can be done about a broadcast stuffed with 70 commercials when Netflix has none?”

Feldman raises three specific problems that the traditional NFL broadcasts run into in a fast-paced, digital world. As a mobile gaming app that increases fan engagement, FanBeat is equipped to tackle (pun somewhat intended) all of them.

1) Mobile screens beat big screens — Today everyone’s mobile device is an extension of their right arm. When it comes to getting people’s attention, the 6-inch screen in our hand beats the 60-inch HD screen that’s on the wall at home or at our local sports bar. Go to any restaurant on a weekend and, even when there’s a big game on, chances are that the majority of the patrons are watching what’s on their phones, not what’s on the big screen.

How can the NFL combat that? One strategy could be by creating an incentive for fans to tune into the action on the field through a real-time gaming app. What if the question “Will the Falcons make this field goal?” is delivered to the mobile device right as the broadcast goes to commercial break before Matt Bryant lines up for a 47-yard kick?

Once the user has selected his or her answer and the game comes back from commercial, the viewer is much more likely to be interested in the ensuing play. When the activity on the device complements the broadcast, like it does in FanBeat, the NFL has a much better chance of keeping viewers tuned in.

2) Too many disruptive ads — As Feldman points out, arguably the biggest drawback to viewing an NFL broadcast is the volume of commercials. There are around 70 commercials during every NFL game. Given people’s shrinking attention spans, getting them to watch an entire game, with that many commercials, seems next to impossible when it has compete with Facebook feeds and Snapchat stories.

Our solution is to give fans something to do during the commercials that correlates with the game. FanBeat only sends predictive play and trivia questions during breaks– so as not to disrupt the action on the field.

FanBeat then weaves sponsor assets into the gameplay, but these 15-second ads are sandwiched between when a user answers a question and when the answer graph is displayed. The flow between the app activity and the sponsor message is seamless. Given the forecasted dramatic increase in sponsor spending to activate on mobile, NFL teams and broadcast partners will continue to benefit from sponsorship revenue generation.

3) Fans don’t just want to watch, they want to interact – The fact that the desirable 18-35 demographic in particular want to share photos and videos on social media is hardly a secret. Utilizing and monetizing social platforms is one of the NFL’s biggest initiatives. It should be noted that interest in the NFL is at an all-time high, and while fans may not be watching entire broadcasts, they are watching their team’s Snapchat video or sharing GIFs of funny highlights on Twitter.

The question becomes how does the NFL leverage social media/digital interaction to drive more viewers to the broadcast? Fantasy football increased the appeal of the NFL product to the casual fan, but at the cost of disintermediating the team from a fanbase only focused on player performance.

FanBeat is tied to and enhances the broadcast, dramatically lifting fan engagement. Not only does FanBeat enable users the chance to win prizes, but it also gives them a chance to compete against their friends. It makes watching the broadcast a more social experience.

The onslaught of social media and mobile apps is forcing the NFL to compete against digital media options that didn’t exist even five years ago. However, FanBeat can be a strategic bridge, merging the linear TV broadcast with its mobile future.

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AND THE GRAND PRIZE WINNER IS …

“Now being presented with the $5,000 check from Georgia Lottery as the 2016 season grand prize winner for Braves FanBeat — Mathewe Traylor!” It would’ve been fun to have Traylor announced over the P.A. system by announcer Casey Motter on Braves Vision just like a Braves player when he strolls to the batter’s box. However, given […]

“Now being presented with the $5,000 check from Georgia Lottery as the 2016 season grand prize winner for Braves FanBeat — Mathewe Traylor!”

It would’ve been fun to have Traylor announced over the P.A. system by announcer Casey Motter on Braves Vision just like a Braves player when he strolls to the batter’s box. However, given that SunTrust Park is still under construction, that wasn’t quite possible last Friday, Dec. 2.

Since opening day of the new ballpark is still a few months away, Traylor was presented with a big check at the SunTrust Park Preview Center, by Braves FanBeat sponsor Georgia Lottery. Pictured above is Traylor (center), John Crow (on the left), a host for Georgia Lottery, and Ed Trimble (on the right), our CEO and founder of FanBeat.

Traylor, a diehard Braves fan who lives in Kennesaw, was the grand prize winner, but there were plenty of other Braves FanBeat season prize winners, announced last month on our blog. These winners got to take home autographed jerseys, win a chance to meet their favorite players at Braves FanFest in 2017 and even win a trip to spring training in Orlando this spring.

Traylor said that Braves FanBeat is unique because it creates more active and engaged fans. It’s a game within the game that allows fans to feel like they’re part of the action.

“FanBeat was able to create a level of engagement I rarely have had during a regular season of baseball,” Traylor said. “Every day was like a playoff atmosphere because I was competing against other fans to win prizes, all while cheering on my favorite team. The most rewarding part was getting to meet, and interact with, other FanBeat players.”

The presentation of Traylor’s check officially puts a cap on the 2016 Braves FanBeat season. Looking ahead to next year, given the Braves’ flurry of offseason activity, there will plenty of new faces on the field at SunTrust Park, as well as plenty more exciting young prospects making up arguably the most talented minor league system in baseball.

All of these story lines will again be reflected in the first real-time, predictive gaming app for Major League Baseball. Needless to say, we can’t wait to roll FanBeat out for 2017, offering prizes to more fans during what will be an historic – not to mention exciting – season at SunTrust Park.

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Does the NFL have a viewership problem or engagement problem?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or were simply engrossed with the presidential election), you’ve probably heard that NFL ratings are down for the 2016 season. Through the season’s first 10 weeks, check out the drop in viewership for the NFL’s primetime games in 2016 compared to 2015, according to Michael Mulvihill, the executive […]

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or were simply engrossed with the presidential election), you’ve probably heard that NFL ratings are down for the 2016 season. Through the season’s first 10 weeks, check out the drop in viewership for the NFL’s primetime games in 2016 compared to 2015, according to Michael Mulvihill, the executive vice president of research, league operations and strategy at Fox Sports.

Primetime national matchups

Sunday Night Football (NBC): -15%

Monday Night Football (ESPN): -17%

Thursday Night Football (CBS, NBC): -16%

Thursday Night Football (NFL Network): -25%

Daytime, regional broadcasts

CBS: -11%

FOX: -2%

Even now that the election has wrapped up, the ratings haven’t exactly rebounded to where they were a year ago. In Week 11, the ratings on NBC’s SNF were up slightly from Week 11 in 2015 (up 4%), but then cratered in Week 12 compared to the previous year (down 27%). For ESPN’s MNF, the viewership for Week 11 was down 17% before bumping up 29% in Week 12. On Thanksgiving, viewership for the daytime games on FOX and CBS were up 8% and 9%, respectively, while the primetime game on NBC was down 25%.

First off, make no mistake, the NFL is still unquestionably the most powerful programming on television and far and away the most profitable sports league in the country. Secondly, the election clearly had an effect on the ratings decline. However, any decrease in viewership — or the mere thought that fan interest has reached its peak and is trending downward — is bad news for the NFL, the media companies that pay billions of dollars annually to televise it, and for the sponsors that pay millions annually to advertise on it.

There have been plenty of hypotheses for root of the NFL’s ratings decline, but let’s look specifically at this episode of ESPN’s Outside the Lines and the reasoning given by Mulvihill. Fox’s EVP states that the issue for the NFL and its TV partners isn’t that fewer fans are watching, but rather that fans aren’t tuning in to the broadcast for as long as they have previously.

http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=17843415

“The reach of the NFL is the same as last year,” he said. “The number of people interested in the league is the same. The issue is that they’re spending less time with us week in and week out. They’re watching fewer minutes per game and when you multiply those statistics together, it’s a ratings drop. It’s an issue of time spent, not people turning away from the league entirely. We have to find out why people who are fans are spending less time.”

Mulvihill’s point is that the NFL doesn’t have a viewership issue – it has an engagement issue. The NFL needs to give people a reason to watch a majority/ entirety of the broadcast, not just a portion of it. The league/ networks need to give fans a reason to actually watch the game, rather than scanning for updates on Twitter, checking the stats of their fantasy team and watching the scoring plays on NFL RedZone.

The NFL needs an engagement tool like FanBeat! When fans have the ability to predict the action in real time and compete for prizes, they automatically become more engaged because they have a stake in the action. More than just picking players from random teams and hoping they pile up yards and score touchdowns, users can predict whether a team will pick up the first down on a key third-and-7, whether a key touchdown catch will stand after the play is challenged or how many total points two teams will combine for in the first half.

Just like traditional fantasy football, fans now have a stake in the action. However, the difference is that because FanBeat is in real time, the users have to watch the live broadcast in order to answer questions and compete for prizes. They can’t just pick their teams a few days beforehand and then pay casual attention on Sundays while checking Twitter and refreshing the live box score.

We’ve already seen that FanBeat increases engagement through our partnership with the Golf Channel and launch for the Ryder Cup. Of the viewers that tried FanBeat during the Ryder Cup, 56 percent said they enjoyed the Ryder Cup more because of FanBeat. In fact, 51 percent said they watched more Ryder Cup coverage because of FanBeat and a staggering 31 percent 5+ hours more coverage over the weekend!

We know that FanBeat can have the same effect for NFL viewers that it had for Ryder Cup viewers. As Mulvihill states, the NFL doesn’t have a fan viewership problem, but a fan engagement problem. FanBeat is the perfect fan engagement solution.

 

 

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