Where to Watch the Game
A new community website helps sports fans find each other, just in time
Any sports fan that travels understands. The plane gets in 20 minutes before the kickoff, the first pitch, or the puck drop. The bar in the hotel doesn’t have satellite and is playing reruns of Sex and the City. At the least, you want your game in HD. In a perfect world, you’ll be surrounded by “your people,” cloaked and clothed in the appropriate colors. A good plate of nachos would be the cherry on top. Fans, there may be an answer.
SportsFanLive.com is a website where fans can type in their team and their current location to find an establishment that promises live footage and friends. On your first visit, the site prompts for your favorite (and least favorite) team, and lets you create an account in seconds. The heart of the system is the FanFinder, which allows users to enter their team, location, and the date of the game. The results are displayed on a Google Maps-like interface with a list of bars.
Unfortunately, the website is better in concept than reality. The “beta” tag is still on, so hopefully things will improve with time. I submitted several searches for bars showing the Florida Gator game in Orlando, San Francisco, and Boston, with no success. The site did provide a handful of quality sports bars in the area, but it failed to find the Gator bars that I’ve frequented in the past. The result tab offers up the “number of fans” that should be at the bar but for all of mine it just displayed “N/A”. Users can click on a button saying “I’m going here” and email other fans who might want to come along, which should improve as the site gets more users.
The first step towards salvation would be for the site to upload the hundreds of alumni clubs and pro sports clubs already in existence across the country. While fans likely realize such clubs exist, having a single site for all allegiances would be convenient. Providing a little info about each bar would be nice (nachos? number of TVs?), along with a phone number. As long as I’m designing the site, I’d also recommend a radio/TV search feature that lets users know if the game is on public television or AM/FM radio in their current non-bar location as well. For those fans who take things a bit too seriously, solitude is often a necessary requirement for big game viewing.