ESPN seems to be stepping up their game (pun intended) when it comes to social media.
Mashable is reporting that the sports company is launching its second social game on Facebook, entitled ESPN Sports Bar & Grill. The task is for players to run a virtual sports bar, similar to a FarmVille style of play.
In addition to the game, Business Insider is reporting that ESPN will also be turning its attention to Twitter. In an effort to turn their viewing experience into more of a social TV experience, they want users to turn to the social media site for news and updates. Patrick Stiegman, vice president and editor-in-chief of the company, emphasizes that “the two-screen experience is real. It’s how a lot of people are following live events now.” He hopes to get his reporters, such as Michelle Beadle and Matthew Berry, to become more integrated into the online conversations.
Personally, I find games on Facebook overrated. But the prospect of a network giant such as ESPN turning so enthusiastically to social TV shows a clear shift in how television will be watched. Especially with news of the World Cup setting a new Twitter record this weekend, it’s obvious that live sporting events naturally lend themselves to the social TV format. As we’ve said, it’s no longer a one-screen experience, and it’s smart of ESPN to take note and jump on the bandwagon early.