Take the community submitted news engine of Digg or Slashdot, the fanaticism of sports followers from SportsBlogs Nation, sprinkle in Google-like spidering of more than 1,600 sports blogs, and you have what just may be the perfect recipe for a breakthrough destination sports site. Ballhype, who suggests you can "Change the game" and "Hype it Up", offers all this and more, officially launching today after an extensive beta, of which I have been part.
Like Digg, Ballhype users can find new stories and post them to the service. Users can vote to "hype it up" or "vote it down" (like digg and bury), and those stories with the most positive votes rise to the top of the most-hyped list. Like Digg, you can discuss specific stories, but unlike Digg, Ballhype also pulls down stories from around the Web's vast sports blogosphere, from SportsBlogs Nation sites, including Athletics Nation and Sactown Royalty, to others including Deadspin and The Hardball Times.
More than just a story submission and voting site, Ballhype takes fans where they want to go, to a near-live scoreboard showing the day's games from all major sports, including the option to pick the winners before the games start, and have your own win/loss record ranked among the leaders on Ballhype. (I have to admit I started strong but was later shown I should stay out of the sportsbook at Vegas)
Ballhype also features extensive automatic tagging. If I submit a Sacramento Kings story involving Ron Artest, both the Kings and Ron Artest are tagged, and I can see all stories that have the same tags. I can also drill down by team or player, or specific blogs to find out as much or as little as I want to.
But best of all, the site is by the fans, for the fans. Some of the earliest participants, in addition to me, are the very bloggers behind some of the most popular sports sites. Fans have already created groups for "Bay Area Sports", "Basketball Addicts" and "Philadelphia Sports Fans", for example, so those with shared interests can find others who bleed the team colors and bite their nails all the way from preseason to the off-season draft picks. This is fanaticism at its finest, and yet another great example of how the Web can foster community regardless of location.
So, hype it up. After all, an authority no less than TechCrunch already noticed that "Sports Fanatics Will Love This". They will.
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