Chatbots are the talk of the town. And in the sporting area, clubs and sporting organisations are beginning to take this new channel seriously to engage with fans. In our latest look at chatbots, we speak to Michael who recently launched an unofficial St Kilda FC AFL chatbot on Messenger.
What Is Saints Fan bot?
Well, the Saints Fan bot is basically a bot which keeps St Kilda AFL fans up to date with the latest club news from the internet. At present, because we’re in our off season, news is a little slim. But current topics hitting our chatbot includes player drafts, recruits, player holidays pics and pre season training.
Hopefully, anyone who is a Saints fan on Messenger will find it a bit of fun. In fact, I hope, all AFL fans who have an interest in St Kilda (who wouldn’t?) can subscribe and receive the latest news from within the chatbot.
Messages pushed out by the bot includes tweets, photos and updates from social media, articles and opinion pieces from news outlets, and official club news; all in one place.
You could say the Saints fan chatbot aggregates news saving fans precious time searching for information on multiple platforms. This is where I see the benefit with my bot. You could say social media platform’s aim is to keep users engaged on their site for as long as possible. That doesn’t help when you have content from a wide variety of platforms.
Saints chatbot allows fans to subscribe to daily news and summaries. That way, fans can remain in the know with what’s going on at the club through push notifications.
Why Did You Create Saints Fan Bot?
I built the Saints Fan bot to aggregate news in one platform. I’m a member and during the early part of season 2016, I seemed to spend countless hours circling from one news site to the next, then on to the official St Kilda FC site, then to the Saints and other Saints fans social media sites, and then to an AFL forum like Big Footy.
I guess a Saturday morning looking at footy news quickly turned into a Saturday afternoon.
To my knowledge, the club is yet to develop any kind of technology. Saying that, I’m sure it’s in the roadmap. (Off topic, but some of the content the digital team comes out with on game day is absolute gold!)
Initially, I planned to publish a blog, but the thought of hosting and ensuring security updates was all too much. Messenger seemed the perfect fit as I spend a fair amount of time with friends on that platform and secondly, I could simply, create the bot, set and forget.
As I mentioned earlier, my chatbot pushes a daily summary of what’s happening at the club. So when I’m sitting on the couch (which I do most of the time), I can catch up on footy news. And if I prefer to discover what’s making news right at this minute, I can get it all from within the chatbot.
So short answer, I created the bot for my own selfish interest. However, that’s now extended to my friends who asked if I could share it with them.
Understanding that, there are still over 150,000 people who have liked the St Kilda FC Facebook page. That’s a considerable size market. If some of those Saints fans can benefit from my chatbot then that’s great. If not, I’ll keep using it!
What Platform Does It Work On?
Messenger seems the easiest platform to work with for chatbots. (I also read on Techcrunch that there are over 900 million Messenger users today. This seems to be a massive platform.)
Besides, all my friends are on Messenger. So, it’s an easy way for us to chat about the Saints and connect on game day.
And let’s not forget there are many tools to help create chatbots without having to write a line of code.
The Saints chatbot was developed with Chatfuel. I read a Chatfuel review on Product Hunt this year when it received funding. Chatfuel is a great product for those who aren’t coders and want to create a bot. I’ve recently seen ABC News develop their bot on Chatfuel.
Where To Next?
Be there when St Kilda wins 2017 AFL Grand Final! Ha! (That’s the equivalent of winning a Superbowl for those NFL fans!)
No, seriously, the St Kilda FC chatbot is mainly for my benefit and those of my friends. If other Saints fan love it and find some benefit from it then great! But otherwise, it’s the best way to keep me informed of important news without having to invest more time on the net.
I’d love to create more interactivity in the future but that won’t happen any time soon. For example, wouldn’t it be great to bring in Saints bot to settle a debate about who’s taken the most marks or had the most 1 percenters for the season (We love stats). Bringing bots into a group conversation is the next step of interactivity. But being a fan, I don’t think I have the resources to do that. I’ll leave that for the club!
Any Last Thoughts?