Facebook's new tool for talking about sports events failed to keep up with the Super Bowl

Sports Stadium, the tool Facebook built to capture some of the sports-related chatter that happens on the site, had a bad Super Bowl as the hub failed to keep up with the game. 

The 50th anniversary game, which ended in a win for the Denver Broncos, was watched by tens of millions of people, many of whom shared opinions, jokes, and general chatter on social media.

Conversations around sports events, especially the NFL, have historically happened on Twitter, and Facebook wanted to take some of that. Over 28 million tweets were sent during the 49th game last year, according to Twitter, up from 24 million in the previous year.

The immediacy of Twitter, driven by the chronological feed, is part of the reason so many people flock to the service during the game. Sports Twitter, a sub-section of the larger network, is “changing the way we watch sports,” according to The New Republic

For the first 11 minutes of the Super Bowl game, Facebook had no trending topics related to the event, according to Danny Sullivan, an editor at MarketingLand

Users were quick to notice this lapse and took to Twitter to complain. 

Facebook has more than 640 million sports fans who use the service, according to the company, and Sports Stadium is a way of capturing their attention during live events. 

The hub includes posts from friends, live scores and stats, commentary from experts, and information about where to find games. 

“[It’s a complement] to the television experience and even the in-game experience,” said Dan Read, Facebook’s head of sports partnerships, at the launch of Sports Stadium. “It provides information about the game, but it also provides you that vital conversation and interaction around the game which we think is really critical to consuming live sports.”  

Facebook blamed the “overwhelming traffic and activity” during the Super Bowl for the outages in a statement provided to AdWeek

“Due to overwhelming traffic and activity, people visiting Facebook Sports Stadium during the Super Bowl may have experienced a delay with the scores and play-by-play information available in the Matchup and Stats tabs, or a problem with posting in the Friends tab,” the company said. 

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