The summer of 2016 was a good one for basketball fans, with the NBA finals bringing a tidal wave of excitement and action. For those without a time machine, keeping up with all the games was only possible thanks to the NBA Facebook chatbot.
Although the NBA finals are over for this year, the bot is still operational and retains some nice features. The bot works with Facebook Messenger, and is straightforward to use — simply tap the ‘commands’ button for a list of search options which will yield instant results.
Users can search for any aspect of the finals, including players, team names and specific games, and receive links to associated content. During the finals, the bot sent users instant highlights and updates on request. Searching for a player or a team allows users to view information relating to their top games, last game and playoffs — within a matter of seconds we were able to view the highlights of Stephen Curry’s most recent games from the summer.
The NBA Facebook bot also makes it possible to search for individual games, and provides links to mini-movies. Clicking the video link in the message takes users to a separate window, where they can enjoy high-quality media nestled in a simple interface. The impressively quick and sleek nature of the bot, courtesy of WSC Sports Technologies, eliminates clunky interfaces and slow loading times to make streaming of the videos and other media an extremely pleasant and smooth process.
For those interested in the NBA draft this year, the bot provided instant updates on the status of teams and players, and linked users to an up-to-date draft board showing all current developments. The bot also continues to allow users to search for draft selections from the past 40 years, providing a crucial edge in any bar trivia night.
For now, the bot is still in its early stages. Melissa Brenner, senior vice president of digital media at the NBA, told the Wall Street Journal: “This is about marketing and learning. This is a new distribution mechanism, and we want to help fans get highlights quickly and easily.”
For die-hard basketball aficionados, the bot may well fall short of expectations. It is still fairly basic in design and omits many lower-league teams. Additional features, such as links to related news sources, are also sparse.
For more casual fans, though, the bot provided a useful and handy overview of the finals, and now allows for easy access to highlights, videos and statistics. As the finals have ended, the bot is understandably less useful than it once was, but it still contains some nifty features. NBA fans can look forward to 2017, and the possibility of more exciting new developments.
Are you a basktetball fan? Let us know what you think of the NBA Facebook bot in the comments below!