If you're a sports fan, then you know how difficult it can be to keep track of all the games without missing the best ones. Without a room full of screens, it can be all too easy to watch one defensive snoozer while an action packed display of offense is happening on another channel. Or maybe you know the feeling of skipping out on watching a game because you think it will be boring and it turns out to be the one everyone is talking about for the next week.
One startup has decided to make sure you're never "the loser at the water cooler the next day that missed an Instant Classic." With a name your buddy might shout from the other room, "Are You Watching This?!" can make sure you're never that loser and its vision for the future should be exciting for any television viewer, especially sports fans.
Self-dubbed RUWT for short, the service comes in a variety of formats. The app is available for Android, iOS, Blackberry and Google TV, as well as on the Web and as an extension and Web app for Chrome. "But what does it do," you ask? RUWT keeps track of games for more than a dozen different leagues and alerts you on any of these devices when exciting things happen. And if you're not on the go but just sitting at home, a full-screen dashboard Google Chrome app helps you keep track of every game you can find on TV.
RUWT CEO and founder, Mark Phillip, told us that this is the site he has always wished existed as a sports fan.
"I always hated the thought of going to bed and missing the game," he said. "It's that average Tuesday that you're not thinking of sports that you'll get a message saying 'there's a no-hitter through eight on ESPN, turn to channel 208.'"
According to Philip, there is an overwhelming number of games available on TV on any given day, with one in four days having more than 100 sporting events. (One record day last fall had an incredible 510 games in a single day.) For true sports fans, it's impossible to keep track of, but that's where RUWT comes in. The RUWTbot keeps track of all the games, pays attention to your settings, and alerts you when a game reaches the level of awesomeness you deem worthy of your attention.
The bot, Philip told us, "is getting smart enough to understand rivalries, but it's cold and objective. It treats playoff games the same as regular season games." To temper that, the site's 17,000 users can all contribute to ranking games by ranking them on a scale from "okay" to "good" to "hot" to "epic".
"It's this mix of an objective signal plus a subjective signal," he explained. "Okay" and "good" may be worth watching if you're already watching TV, he explained, but "if a game gets to hot, it's worth turning the TV on for. If it gets to epic, it's the game that everyone's going to be talking about the next day."
After you sign up with RUWT, you can fully customize at what level a game needs to hit for the bot to alert you, for what leagues and whether by email, SMS, or both.
The RUWTbot keeps track of scores, news and TV listings for Arena Football, Auto Racing (NASCAR, F1, IRL), Men's College Basketball, Women's College Basketball, College Football, MLB, NBA, NFL, CFL, NHL, Soccer (MLS and World Cup), and the WNBA, pulling in from one half to a full gigabyte of sports data daily. As information arrives, the bot can generally score a game in less than 100 milliseconds, Philip told us, meaning that the literal second a game gets good, you can know about it.
Philip said that the service is already available as an app on Google TV and that he's been talking to a number of hardware manufactures about getting it embedded in set-top boxes and other devices, such as the SlingBox.
"I think its a really interesting fit - the ability to sling content to wherever you are is great, but what if you don't know the game is on?" asked Philip. The answer, of course, is that a SlingBox integration could not only alert you that your favorite team was doing something great, but it could bring the game to you on your mobile device, wherever you are.
As a NY Giants and Texas Longhorns fan living in California, I can tell you this would be a service I'd be willing to pay for. For now, however, I won't have to, because RUWT comes as a free app on a variety of devices. And if Philip has his way, RUWT will soon come integrated on the devices already sitting in your living room and hooked up to your TV. I can't wait.