Sports fans, meet chatbots.
theScore’s bot will allow fans to receive automated scores and breaking news alerts on Facebook Messenger from the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and most major soccer leagues.
“Messenger is used by more than 900 million people all over the world and theScore bot is a totally logical extension of our app offering, drawing from our deep well of data and news content and serving it up in a way that’s totally seamless and native to Messenger,” John Levy, theScore CEO and founder, said in a statement.
Facebook is one of many tech companies developing chatboat technology that uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing to understand what customers — in this case, fans —need and want. Other messaging app competitors like Kik, Line, Telegram, and more are building their own bot technology; however, Facebook clearly has a head start with its massive base of 900 million Messenger users.
I’ve been testing theScore’s bot over the past few days. You can access it via theScore’s Facebook page and clicking “Message.”
Within Messenger, you’re able to enter team names like “Mariners” or “Seahawks” and the bot will let you “follow” these teams.
You can tweak the type of alerts and news you receive from theScore:
For now, the chatbot doesn’t offer much more than another way to receive updates and news within Messenger. However, it does provide a more “conversational” method of consuming short sports-related news and there are plans to layer in ways for fans to ask the bot questions, such as “how did my favorite team do last night?” — this doesn’t work quite yet:
Facebook Messenger is not the only place where sports information and machine learning/artificial intelligence-related technology are coming together. For example, fans can do a Google search using conversational phrases like “how did the Mariners play last night?”:
Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant also has features that allow users to ask the device sports-related questions. Echo owners can simply ask, “Alexa, what’s the score of the [insert team name] game?” or, “Alexa, when does [insert team] play?” and the virtual assistant will answer promptly.