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Sky Sports gives English football fans a new chatbot

Sky Sports is giving fans of English Premiere League football (or soccer, for Americans) a new way to interact with their favorite teams in the form of a Facebook Messenger chatbot.

The chatbot is called the Jeff Bot, as its personality is modeled after Jeff Stelling, the beloved host of the Gilette Soccer Saturdayshow. The chatbot aims to treat users to amiable conversations about soccer and provide statistics and facts about the players and teams.

"The English Premier League joining the GameOn community of leagues and premium content providers is a great testament to our platform's purpose," said Alex Beckman, founder and CEO of GameOn. "This common thread of chat engagement and AI bots are huge opportunities for us in some of the largest leagues in the world. Chatbots are changing the media dynamic, advertising model, and the fan experience overall - and we're excited to help bring shape to the category."

Sky Sports
Sports fans are some of the most dedicated when it comes to talking about statistics and analyzing every minute detail of a game or player. That makes them the perfect audience for a chatbot which was created specifically for that purpose.

Sky Sports, a sports news company in the UK, has made note of this tendency and is combining it with the recent surge in popularity of chatbots for the new Jeff Bot, a bot that offers real-time commentary on soccer matches as they happen.

The chatbot was developed in partnership with GameOn, a sports-oriented mobile application based in the UK.

The bot offers real-time commentary on the game and can respond to questions about the players and matchups quickly and with natural language.

Users who engage with the bot during the game can ask it questions about the players and learn details about the teams they are watching.

Users can also follow their favorite teams and receive real-time updates on their standings, news about their teams and reminders when the team is going to play.

Chatbot central
Chatbots have increasingly begun to show their importance in recent months as many brands use them as a unique and inviting way to get customers engaging with them in a non-commercial way. This is mainly due to the popularity of mobile messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Viber.

In fact, the popularity of these platforms has become so great that some have even begun to speculate that messaging could overtake other services to be the dominant way in which consumers interact with brands, as was expressed by an executive from Snaps (see story).

Other brands have been using chatbots for more commercial purposes, such as American Express which recently expanded the abilities of its bot to help customers add credit cards to their accounts (see story).

Sky Sports and GameOn may have struck gold by trying to apply the detail-oriented nature of chatbots to the audience that loves those kinds of details the most ? sports fans.

"We're always looking for new and innovative methods to better connect with fans and deliver more entertaining ways for our audience to enjoy the sports they love," said, David Gibbs, digital director for Sky Sports & Sky News. "Working with GameOn allows us to try something different with Chatbots and introduce a new experience that's consistent with the Sky Sports tone and feel that fans enjoy."