PlayUp makes viewing sports more social. Here’s how it powered my final Premiership weekend [App Reviews]
May 14, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka
Sunday was a huge day for sports. The last time a big sporting event took place on a Sunday, I spent much of the day watching television and using an interactive Android app. During yesterday’s drama-filled finale of the Barclay’s English Premiere League, I decided to do the same thing; however, this time I put PlayUp to the test.
PlayUp is similar to OnSports, my previously covered sports app, because it’s part scoreboard and part social network. The Android 2.2 or higher app is designed to create a designated hangout that allows members to discuss live and upcoming sporting events with their friends or likeminded individuals. The app links with Facebook or Twitter to find your friends and lets users create hangouts to discuss the match. I was disappointed to see that there isn’t any indication of which friends on my networks use PlayUp, but that could be because none of my friends downloaded the app. It’s easy to invite friends to download PlayUp from within the app.
PlayUp supports several sports, including basketball, football/soccer, hockey, cricket, baseball, football (NFL), NCAA sports, and rugby. When members tap on a specific sport, they see a scoreboard with live updates on all the games that week or day. Each individual game then gets a section highlighting live match stats and discussions from other PlayUp members, news and rumors associated with the two teams playing, and an ability to create a hangout – private or public – to discuss the game. Most of my friends and family who would be interested in this app already get their fix bombarding their Facebook/Twitter feeds with live updates from the game, so I thought this might be a useful way for us to connect when we can’t be there. Unfortunately, people were too busy with Mother’s Day to participate.
At least my U.S. based connections were. When I went into the public “Live Match Stats” section, I found more than a few people discussing the key matches of the day. There were also PlayUp employees providing live commentary and action updates throughout the game. This proved to be incredibly useful during Sunday’s EPL slate that featured 10 games being played simultaneously. My father is a dedicated Arsenal supporter and pretty much forced us to watch Arsenal vs. West Brom instead of the Manchester City vs. Queens Park Rangers clash that determined the league champion. I often had to turn to PlayUp to know what was happening around the league. Having the commentary go beyond just the standard “Cisse scored a goal” was nice to have, and gave me a clue as to when I should sneak a quick channel change and know which games had the most drama.
The problem with PlayUp is trying to decide who the audience should be, and if it’s worth their dedication. Twitter already meets my live sports commentary needs, but I have only a few contacts there that discuss certain clubs and franchises. It was easier to have an established social network of people there for identical reasons. While I like the ability to become friends with other users and invite fellow fans, it’s not always a popular hangout. PlayUp comically has the opposite problem from what I experienced when reviewing OnSports – there are plenty of soccer fans using this app, but not many basketball followers.
What it boils down to is that PlayUp can be a very useful app if you can convince friends to join. The app can cross-post updates to Facebook and Twitter, but the real appeal is to have private hangouts built around sporting events. I know there are people who can’t or don’t want to share their commentary out in the open, so PlayUp can be a good way to speak freely in a private setting. It’s also an encouraging sign that PlayUp is securing partnerships with sporting events to promote the app and increase awareness. If you’re looking for a new way to talk about the game on your phone, download PlayUp from Google Play for Android 2.2 or higher. (You can also recommend the iOS version to your friends with iPhones.)