News flash, in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past four years: Twitter is taking over the world. The status sharing site continues to grow in notoriety, and it isn’t slowing down. TV shows (mostly live ones) constantly implore viewers to tweet about what they’re watching, and some shows, like The X Factor, even periodically show Twitter Trackers, highlighting what’s trending at the moment. For fantasy football junkies like myself, Twitter has always been a useful place to find out news about various players and injuries, but Statsheet, created by Robbie Allen in 2007 out of Durham, North Carolina, is working to make it relevant on game days.
Stat.us, the new application that StatSheet recently created, is the next step for integrating Twitter into fantasy football play. After connecting with the site via a Twitter login, users can select the players on their fantasy football team from Statsheet’s list of players it’s tracking, which is all-encapsulating (I tested it out by searching for some obscure players, and they were all there). Statsheet will take these players and create a list of them on Twitter, and will update their stats in real-time, a first for any social networking site. Statsheet has offered live scores via Twitter updates for MLB, NFL, NBA, and both NCAA football and basketball games previously. Player trackers for other sports are in the works, and will be coming soon.
Currently, there are four major websites to create fantasy leagues on: ESPN.com, Yahoo, NFL.com, and CBSSports.com. (A brief description of how fantasy football works, along with my interview with Nik Bonaddio, creator of NumberFire, can be found here.) While the sites have different advantages and disadvantages, each has a strong real-time fantasy score updater, which is essential. With this score updater, entire fantasy teams’ stats can be seen in one pop-up window, and team owners can see those stats converted into a score of their game against their opposition. Each of the big four providers has its own app that does the same thing on the go. This is, far and away, the easiest way for people to track their fantasy scores, and simpler than Stat.us’ service. It’s uncomplicated and the conversion of stats to fantasy points is done in seconds, letting users avoid doing mental math. While Stat.us is a great way of quickly finding out stats by only using Twitter, those stats have to be converted into fantasy points, which gets annoying quickly. (For example, if a running back runs for 120 yards and two touchdowns, that would add up to 24 fantasy points in a standard league. Doing that quick calculation for nine hours straight is irritating.) Nearly all fantasy players use the real-time scoring that the aforementioned sites provide, and those with smartphones likely have downloaded the app for their league.
Above all else, Stat.us’ existence is a tip of the hat to Twitter’s dominance of the Internet. In the last few years, all fantasy sites have improved substantially. A few years ago, Yahoo charged money for live scoring updates, but after realizing how outdated that model was, started offering the service for free to keep up with its competitors. Team updates now come quickly, and there are very few realistic changes that fantasy players can ask for. But the fact that Robbie Allen and his team decided that a live feed of Twitter fantasy updates was something that could be useful shows how powerful and popular Twitter is. Since so many people use the site, it’s only fitting that there should be a way to get fantasy stats from it. Stat.us may never replace live scoring apps for fantasy fans, but Twitter is popular enough to make it worth a shot.