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How SportStream adds the social element to viewing games

A look at a new sports app for the iPad. It's a shame that it doesn't work with the Olympics.

I'm a big sports fan, so I was happy to get my hands on SportStream, which promises to bring a sense of community to your sports-viewing experience.

Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed with the app, and felt it missed a big opportunity.

SportStream, which is available as an iPad app, is fairly simple. You pick a professional baseball, basketball, football, or hockey game, and are brought to a social feed page. The feed provides play-by-play updates, as well as notable tweets from bloggers, sports journalists, athletes, and other personalities.

There's a section to the right in which you can participate via chat, post to Facebook or Twitter, or invite friends to exchange trash talk during the game.

It's a case of bad timing for SportSteam. With the Olympics going on, I felt the app could have gotten a lot of juice if it offered a social element to the games -- even if they were for the most popular events. SportStream also launched in the inauspicious time in the summer when baseball is the only sport in season, so there were fewer games and fans to grab.

Perhaps this colors my perception of the app, but I'm not the biggest baseball fan. Perhaps I'd be more into this app if NBA or NFL games were available. Ideally, I'd love to follow along with my beloved USC Trojans, but the app doesn't follow college football.

After lurking for much of the weekend, I finally checked into a game between the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday (admittedly not the most exciting game). Without access to the game or interest in either team, I found it hard to pay attention to the app.

SportStream is positioned as a social companion, or second screen, when you watch games. And when you're at home, I can see how it can enhance your viewing experience. As you watch the game, you can exchange trash talk, and get other friends into the fun by sending them an invitation.

But I couldn't see myself bringing this to a sports bar, let alone a live game. Plus, the fact that all of your friends need to have an iPad to use this app doesn't help with this burgeoning app community.

For me, I still prefer ScoreMobile as the free sports app with an already established community of users who provide regular comments during a game. What's more, it actually covers more sporting events, including the Olympics, Nascar, and mixed martial arts.

Still, SportStream has a clean, efficient interface, and I'm sure it's just the start for the app. Despite its shortcomings now, I still see a lot of promise in it.