The NBA has released a chatbot for Facebook Messenger, right in time for the first game of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

You can start talking to the bot simply by going to the short URL m.me/NBA, David Marcus, vice president of messaging products at Facebook, wrote in a Facebook post today.

Of course the NBA has a large fan base, but the launch of this bot is also significant because Facebook is specifically promoting it as one of the early examples of what’s possible what chatbots in the messaging app. Facebook has previously promoted chatbots from the likes of CNN, Poncho, and Spring.

This bot sends users highlights of top plays, the playoffs, and the last games for teams or players in the NBA Finals. The video clips are displayed in a horizontal scrollable list; when you hit the “Watch” button you’re taken to pages hosted at bot.nba.com. You can tell the bots to send you alerts right when games end, or not.

But if that doesn’t sound like your perfect virtual companion, that’s OK, because many more bots are coming to Messenger. Last month Marcus said in an interview that “tens of thousands” of developers were building bots for the messaging app.

Facebook announced its Bot Engine and Send/Receive application programming interface (API) for building bots in April.

VentureBeat

VentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative technology and transact. Our site delivers essential information on data technologies and strategies to guide you as you lead your organizations. We invite you to become a member of our community, to access:
  • up-to-date information on the subjects of interest to you
  • our newsletters
  • gated thought-leader content and discounted access to our prized events, such as Transform
  • networking features, and more
Become a member