Facebook buys SportStream to access its real time data

SportStream allows sports data to be aggregated, filtered and displayed in real time

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
December 18, 2013
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Facebook may be the more older, and more widely used, social network, but it has continually lacked one key aspect that has helped to define Twitter: access to real-time data.

While, over the last few years, Twitter has become the place to go to get up to the minute information on events all around the world, from protests in Iran to the typhoon in Japan, Facebook has been relegated to also-ran status in that department, even if 30% of U.S. adults do get their news there.

But that doesn't mean Facebook is ready to concede any time soon. In fact, it has recently been trying to close that gap, and took a big step in that direction with its purchase of SportStream, which it announced on Tuesday.  SportStream is a start up that enables content producers and broadcasters to aggregate, filter and display sports data in real-time. 

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it was revealed that the team at SportStream will be coming to work at Facebook's Menlo Park campus. SportStream also made it sound like the company would continue to operate from inside Facebook, noting in a post on its homepage that it would "continue delivering great experiences with our existing partners and actively work with them on transition planning."

Joining Facebook, the company said, will give them "greater resources to continue to do what we do best," and will allow them for "scaling and further developing tools and resources" to help future partners. 

"We expect to make an impact on the more than 1 billion people who use Facebook as well as the many valued sports media businesses and professionals, teams, leagues and players that use Facebook to better connect with fans," the company said.

for its part, Facebook made it clear that it was buying the company to give its users and partners access to SportSteam's real-time content.

"SportStream’s demonstrated track record of surfacing interesting and engaging content, along with their deep understanding of our products, means that we will be able to build a better experience for the people who use Facebook, and for our partners who depend on us for real-time insights," Justin Osofsky, VP of Media Partnerships & Global Operations at Facebook, wrote.

Founded in 2012, the San Francisco-based SportStream raised $3.5 million from Microsoft co-founder and Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital in June of 2012. 

Facebook and SportStream already had a relationship prior to the acquisition; the two companies announced a new analytics product, one powered by data from Facebook’s Keyword Insights API and Public Feed API, and accessible through the SportsBase platform, in November. 

The product analyzes aggregate mentions and posts from the social network across sports and delivers real-time data including top games, teams and players along with audience details like location, gender and age.

This is Facebook's ninth start up acquisition this year, following the purchases of AtlasHot Studio, Spaceport.ioParseMonoidicsJibbigoOsmeta, and Onavo.

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SportStream, Inc.
Description: SportStream is built in San Francisco, by a group of die-hard sports fans dedicated to combining their love of sports and technology. The...