These days, it’s common to turn to Twitter or Facebook during the course of a sporting event. What better place to talk trash, brag or even commiserate with fellow fans when your team isn’t doing so well. Among the college set, it should come as no surprise that Snapchat and Yik Yak are spots for the sharing of similar content. During last night’s NCAA men’s basketball Finals, both apps also brought official programming to its users.

In Snapchat’s case, they executed their “Our Story” feature, as they’ve done with major events this year, including one of my employer’s — the Waste Management Phoenix Open. If you’re not familiar with one of these features, it’s a way to check in on the action around a live event. A team at Snapchat collects photos and videos shot by Snapchat users. The tool ties into location so the Snapchat team is able to pull content coming from people at the event. From there, Snapchat curates the best content, which is strung together in one narrative. In line with other Snapchat functionality, Our Story content lasts for 24 hours before it’s wiped away.

Last night, Our Story was up and running, and showcasing some serious school spirit from both Wisconsin and Duke students. As is the case with other Our Story executions, the content isn’t live game footage. It’s much more about telling the story of the game from the fan’s point of view. Ads are integrated as well.

Duke Fans via SnapchatWisconsin Fans via SnapchatSnapchat Ad

For the first time, I also noticed that Yik Yak had a dedicated program around the game. It was in conjunction with Bleacher Report but also centered around what fans were talking about. The Yik Yak execution made perfect sense given their college audience and presence on campuses around the country. While I haven’t seen details on whether or not Bleacher Report paid for this integration, it does open up interesting possibilities around brands, publishers and monetization on Yik Yak going forward. That has to be on Yik Yak’s radar in a big way.

One of the big differences between the two platform executions was visual. Snapchat centers around visuals. Yik Yak (at least for now) is text-based and it’s in line with their view of the app as an anonymous platform. The curation within Our Story also was a point of difference. On Yik Yak, it’s more democratic. The users are meant to up or down vote content, which in turn makes it more or less prominent.

Yik Yak NCAAYik Yak NCAA FansBleacher Report Yik Yak


As part of this year’s SXSports agenda, a team of heavy hitters talked about what watching sports will look like in the future.

In the session, the topic of the smart TV was raised. Will this or won’t this be the key to the way sports are consumed going forward? Mark Kramer, Head of Digital Technology for Pac-12 Networks, argued one of two possibilities will happen here. The first, is that smart TVs die off in favor of “dumb TV.” The TV becomes just a monitor and your phone is your cable box, allowing you to put whatever you want on your TV. A true remote control.

The other possibility Kramer outlined was that TVs start to become bundled with providers much like they are with phones today. This scenario would allow TV technology to move much more rapidly, with consumers replacing their TVs every two years.

Another key topic for the future was around data and personalization. The purpose here–and to some extent, this is already happening–is to better understand fans. “It’s not to be creepy but to make the experience better,” Kramer said.

Understanding what fans are interested in and how they want to watch the game opens up interesting possibilities. Having the ability to change camera angles on the fly is one such possibility, according to William Mao, Head of College Sports Partnerships for YouTube. This could involve anything from moving to a first person perspective or getting audio from a coach, player or ref who’s mic’ed up.

For fellow panelist Spencer Hall, Editorial Director for Vox Media/SB Nation, he’d like to have the ability to switch to other broadcasts on the fly. That might mean going between hometown broadcasts to get their view or tuning into international feeds. That international feed angle is where “the confetti” is. You don’t need to understand the language to get the sense of excitement during a big moment. These examples could take fans to new places, but of course current realities around media rights prevent such things from coming to life.

Whatever the creative idea, the message is clear. In the words of Kramer, “The more choices we can give fans, the more they’re going to want to watch…and the more they’re going to buy a ticket and come to a game.”