FC Barcelona on Thursday announced BarçaViber Man of the Match, its first Viber chatbot designed to entertain its fans in between games. The newly unveiled service was developed in collaboration with Viber and is specifically meant to enhance the match-going experience of the club's most loyal fans. The solution boasts real-time news updates, game predictions, and general score voting, with the partnership itself being meant to provide a glimpse into the future of high-profile sports events and related coverage and the chatbot being designed to encourage engagement between the club and its fans, FC Barcelona said.
Among other things, the BarçaViber Man of the Match chatbot allows fans to make their match outcome predictions, as well as vote and rate their favorite players and share their scores with their friends. Additionally, users are able to send feedback to the chatbot in terms of "excitement" they feel before each game, in addition to being able to share these scores and contribute to the selection of the BarçaViber Player of the Year, the title that will be awarded to the FC Barcelona player who receives the most BarçaViber Man of the Match votes by the end of the 2017/18 season. Likewise, fans themselves will be eligible to compete for the title of the BarçaViber Fan of the Year, with those interested in participating in the experience being able to win a ticket for a VIP visit to Camp Nou which will entail meeting a number of the team's star players, FC Barcelona said. The lucky winner who gets to meet Messi and the rest of the team will be the one who manages to accurately predict the most match results, the club revealed.
The BarçaViber Man of the Match will be officially available to all users of the Viber mobile app as of Saturday, September 9, the club said. More specifically, the service will go live during FC Barcelona's game against RCD Espanyol, presumably just in time for the kick-off. As expected, the chatbot will be free to use and won't feature any hidden fees. The move itself can be interpreted as the latest step in Viber's endeavor to diversify its service portfolio with the ultimate goal of improving its user acquisition and retention rates, though it remains to be seen how consumers will respond to FC Barcelona and Viber's latest offering.