Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Taking Social to the next level - TOK Football

We've been gathering together to watch live sports in the living room for many, many years.  As our society has become busier, travelled further apart, and gotten socially reconnected with our geographically diverse friends, we have used Facebook and Twitter to stay in touch, comment on the score of a game, and even talk some trash.  But nothing replaces live conversation as well as the conversation itself.  If you don't believe that, check the monthly minutes plan on your phone or review Skype's usage explosion.

So if you wanted to watch the playoff games last weekend with your good friends who happen to be in different cities, you can use several sports related second screen apps to post comments on plays and scores or you could open a Skype multi-party session to experience the trash talking, but what if you tried to combine the two experiences?

Meet TOK Football.

I spent part of the game watching the Ravens beat up on the Patriots Sunday while test driving the TOK Football experience.  The sign-up was relatively painless.  I gave it my Facebook credentials and it offered to easily invite people to join me from there or from email.  Once I was connected to Fabrizio Capobianco and Emanuela Zaccone, the CEO and CMO of TOK.tv, I got to enjoy watching the game on the first screen, checking out the graphics of each play on the second screen, and listening to comments, cheers, and pre-recorded sound bytes (from the app) that ranged from "Defense, Defense, Defense" to a loud belch (the effect from the "beer button"--great fun).

The audio was surprisingly good despite the fact that I was in LA, Fabrizio was in San Francisco, and Emanuela was in Rome.  While the app has some low hanging fruit on its development roadmap around leveraging "more classic" social sharing features within Twitter and Facebook as well as making the graphics more interactive (clicking into the players bios for example), the experience was novel and refreshing and I think takes the "social" concept, especially for sports, to new heights.

The stimulating features are great and I think the next version of this app will be giving NFL '12 and ESPN ScoreCenter a run for their money.

Test it out for yourself during the SuperBowl in two weeks and look out for a much improved, ready for prime time experience for TOK Baseball coming in the spring (where many of the second features will be addressed).

Simple.  None.
Seamless.  None.
Discovery.  Some ability to what games are on that day in a map view (where the games are being played).  Low.
Stimulating.  A very strong start in this feature set, already in similar ranks with apps like ShoSync and USA Anywhere.  More importantly, it is a fresh take on the sports app and give consumers new options for the experience.  Medium.
Social.  While just on the edge of the low rating, the ability to speak live to your buddies while watching the game is certainly a new social experience and will improve the sports app genre in 2013.

Interested in comparing TOK Football to other sports apps in a detailed research report?  Check out www.2ndscreensociety.com/research/

If you are in San Francisco on Feb 7th, come check us out at AppsWorld.
If you are in LA on Feb 21st, come check our our 2nd Screen Summit (2nd annual in LA).  This is the link to last year's event.


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