SBD/October 20, 2016/Media

Unchartered Territory: Capitals First NHL Team To Launch Facebook Messenger Bot

The Capitals this season “became the first NHL team to launch a Facebook Messenger bot,” Capsbot, which “uses artificial intelligence to provide tailored responses to a variety of frequently asked questions,” according to Scott Allen of the WASHINGTON POST. Capitals Digital Media Dir James Heuser said, “It’s just another way for fans to interact with our channel and then hopefully for us to interact back with them.” Allen noted Capsbot was “developed in partnership” with DC-based agency iStrategyLabs (ISL). The Capitals beta-tested Capsbot during the preseason and “began promoting it at the home opener Saturday.” While Capsbot will “continue to be useful for FAQs, Heuser hopes fans will enjoy interacting with it as more features, such as GIFs, in-game polls and giveaway contests, are integrated over the course of the season.” Heuser: “We’re trying to figure out what fans want to message and what they want out of it.” Allen noted the Wizards are “expected to unveil their own Messenger bot, also developed by ISL, in time for the season.” The Capitals and Wizards join the Mavericks, NBA Kings, Broncos and EPL club Manchester City “among the first professional sports teams to launch a bot.” ISL CMO & Managing Dir DJ Saul estimated that “more than half of U.S. pro sports teams will have done so by this time next year” (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 10/19).
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