SBJ/July 22-28, 2013/Idea Innovators
Published July 22, 2013, Page 15
In the competition for attention and revenue in pro sports, Major League Soccer is trying to think differently. That’s why an innovator like Chris Bettin is vital to MLS as it strives to become one of the top sports leagues in the U.S. and one of the top soccer leagues in the world.
In just over three years at MLS, Bettin, 33, has made his mark running the product development and club services teams of MLS Digital.
While overseeing the league’s push beyond Web into social media and mobile, he is launching its new second-screen experience, Golazo, which is now in beta. Golazo leverages new technologies such as Web sockets and HTML5 to engage fans with real-time content during matches. MLS views Golazo as a digital leader in sports, citing its integration of statistics, commentary, social media comments, video highlights and photos.
Bettin is also creating new experiences in the fantasy sports realm for soccer, like 3 Goal Monte, where fans predict three players who will score a goal during a week.
“We want to put an emphasis on contact — how fans are able to connect with each other through MLS and how the league can connect with fans and win new ones,” he said.
Bettin, who earned his MBA in technology management from the University of Washington, oversees eight software developers at MLS. His objectives over the next year are straightforward.
“We want to build great products where people want to talk to other people,” he said. “We need to drive better television ratings because I’m convinced that the potential audience is there. And right in our wheelhouse at MLS Digital is statistics: How do we take soccer to the next level with statistics?”
MLS is counting on Bettin to come up with the answers.