Here at Fanbot.ai one of the best performing bots were always related to sports in some way. The whole concept of the fanbot born out of our stack in sports technology (then later expanded to other industries, such as e-commerce or small service providers, but that’s another story). We were very keen to create a bot for eSports for a long time, using our own engine and finally we could launch it on the 29th of March.
We believe it’s always important that the creators and developers of a platform should also be the users and “clients” of their own software as well, so they can face the possible issues and hurdles that normal customers might notice later on in a live environment. Building the eSports Fanbot was also a very refreshing experience and a great test of the Fanbot v2 engine (more on this later).
For platform, this time we have decided to start on Viber. We believe that Viber is still an uncharted territory for most brands and services, with hundreds of millions of active users worldwide. This was one of the most important decision we could make, considering the recent mess with Facebook’s privacy issues and their current hold on chatbots (of course we did not know about this back then). This decision also helped us to create a more streamlined user experience, tailored for the specifics of Viber and fortunately correlated with one of the largest updates of Viber: the introduction of Viber communities. When you create a bot for multiple platforms, always focus on one platform first, then move on to the next.
Large majority of the team at Fanbot.ai has strong relations with video games, even with competitive gaming, but we are still not professional content producers, so it came handy that Fanbot.ai was accepted previously to the Sportradar Acceleradar program. Thanks to the fine folks at Sportradar, we could gain access to some extremely interesting stats and data for various eSports tournaments, teams and matches. Another large part of the content was entirely created in the new version of the Fanbot.ai Conversation Management System (CMS). Creating high quality content in the messaging experience is equally important as with any other media channel and should be an integral part of every bot building process.
The bot was supported with a sticker pack (targeted for gamers in this case), which is one of the best ways to gain exposure quickly on Viber. We believe the stickers were well received, with more than 500,000 downloads after the first few days. Hopefully they will be popular not only among gamers but everyone who wants to use comments like GG or n00b on Viber! If you are curious or want to use it for free immediately: Stickers FTW!
*** UPDATED 01/07 *** Results (after 3 months)
It’s still very early to draw conclusions, but after the first few months the bot have more than 500,000 active subscribers and it increases every day. The popularity of eSports is growing exponentially, with top players emerging from all over the world. Delivering parts of the competitive gaming experience to the chat and messaging platforms is one way to contribute to the community, while showing interesting stats and data to players, spectators and visitors on demand. This is also a great example and opportunity for brands, events and media companies who would like to get involved more with eSports or strengthen their ties with fans.
Since our launch, Viber also changed how people can discover bots and verified accounts, which is great for building trust with new fans. We are also in the process of adding more and more competitive video games into the content part.
Is there any plan for other sports?
Definitely, yes! We are already working on similar bots for other sports and will release them very soon. Please stay tuned and watch our social media for more information soon.
Also published on Medium.