Watching Baseball Gets Social With GameSlam
Today marks one of the best days of the year: Major League Baseball Opening Day. I love baseball, but I realize there are many who do not. Statistics show MLB interest is on the decline. This is largely due to the slower nature of the game and our increasing inability to sit still for more than 5 seconds.
A new app, GameSlam, hopes to speed up the feel of watching baseball by introducing a bit of interactivity. GameSlam aims to let you predict what will happen next during a MLB game. The game uses virtual currency, and allows fans to compete with their friends by placing live-action bets.
GameSlam is currently in public beta with desktop applications for Windows and Mac with Facebook integration as well. Their beta won’t go live till the first game of the season later today, so I wasn’t able to play around. The site also indicates that they will be releasing iPhone, iPad, and Android apps soon.
GameSlam allows you to create groups of friends up to 100. Each member begins with 10,000 credits to bet as they choose. Each game is updated in real-time with a 3D animation of each play (think ESPN GameCast). The goal of the company is to make baseball a less passive experience, and by doing so hopefully attract back viewers to the game.
I’m excited to try out GameSlam when it goes live. I rarely watch TV without my phone or iPad close by and I could see this sparking some intense competition between fans. I think this could be more than just a fun app and potentially draw in new fans who otherwise have turned a cold shoulder on the sport.
If GameSlam builds up a follower base, there could be big potential for live-betting using real money. Other sites such as Bodog allow live-betting for certain games, and this just feels like a natural fit for GameSlam at some point. I’m sure the company wants to shy away from that route (at least for the time being) due to gambling laws in the US. The startup would likely have to take their business overseas to play in this realm.
Regardless of future expectations, I’m excited to try out GameSlam. Baseball may be America’s pastime, but gambling is up there as well.