Facebook Wants to Be Your Second Screen at the Super Bowl

Facebook users' comments will appear on Fox Sports pre-game footage.

February 1, 2014, 4:05 PM
PHOTO: New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, left, uses his mobile phone
New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, left, uses his mobile phone to photograph from the podium before New York Stock Exchange opening bell ceremonies in New York, Jan. 30, 2014.
AP Photo

Feb. 1, 2014— -- It's not just the Broncos and the Seahawks that will be battling it out at this year's Super Bowl. While the NFL teams will be facing off on the small screen, Facebook and Twitter will be vying for your attention on even smaller screens.

Twitter may be the more nimble of the two social networks to react to live events, but Facebook has its own strategy for catching up to speed.

Fox Sports is collaborating with Facebook throughout the game, according to a report from Reuters. The pre-game segments will feature Facebook and Instagram commentary along with the typical game stats. In addition, a separate website will be created that will track Facebook users and commentary in real time.

Matt McGee, the editor in chief for the website Marketing Land, said that Facebook also has a better arsenal of tools than it did last year. "If you look at last year's Super Bowl, most of the commercials had a hashtag," he told ABC News. "Facebook supports hashtags and within the last couple of weeks, has started showing the trending topics."

Facebook's trending topics themselves offer a little more insight than Twitter's top trends. "When you look at the list of the trending topics, it begins with a news story that explains the topic," said Nate Elliott, a principal analyst at Forrester. "It's probably the best move Facebook could have done to capture live social behavior."

But Facebook still has to get its users to see it as fast-paced enough to keep up with the events of the game. "I'm not sure that their user base is ready for that," said McGee. "It's a total change of behavior and I'm really curious to see what the impact will be this year."

For Elliott, that's less of a concern. "Facebook has a good track record of taking these ideas, offering it to much bigger audiences, and finding reasonable success," he said. "There are hundreds of millions of people on this planet who use Facebook and not Twitter. That's all you need to know."

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