New app connects college sports fans on Twitter

College sports fans have flocked to Twitter for game coverage.

When Philip Sanford goes to his favorite bar to watch his beloved Seton Hall Pirates, he brings along his phone charger so he also can follow the game on Twitter. David Foreman likes using the social media site to communicate with West Virginia fans across the country.

More and more these days, when the game is on, so is the computer.

Or tablet. Or cell phone.

Sports fans around the world are following along on Twitter while they watch their favorite teams in person or on TV, and now a new application from a San Francisco startup is designed to make that experience even easier for them.

“Since I can’t really listen to [the game when] I’m at a sports bar, I like to read about what’s going on from a journalistic point of view,” said the 29-year-old Sanford, who lives in Charlotte, N.C. “I can learn about what’s going from several different sources.”

There are signs all over that sports fans are using Twitter even while the game is going on in front of them.

Sporting events are responsible for the majority of the top moments measured in tweets per second. The Champions League soccer match between Barcelona and Chelsea on April 24 peaked at 13,684 tweets per second, second only to the 2011 showing of a movie in Japan.

According to a study by the Perform sports media group, 26 percent of U.S. fans use social media platforms to follow their favorite sports, up from 15 percent in a similar survey in 2011.

One-third of those fans say they use Twitter to follow sports, trailing Facebook (89 percent) and YouTube (65)—based on 1,002 online interviews of adults conducted during February and March.

Colleges and professional sports leagues are paying attention to those numbers. Sunday’s Pocono 400 Presented by #NASCAR marked Twitter’s first official partnership with a sports league.

There are all sorts of official hashtags that allow fans to zero in on everything being said about their hometown or alma mater’s teams at key moments.

Foreman, 40, of Lewisburg, Pa., likes the community aspect found on Twitter during sporting events.

“I’m sort of an expatriate, so a lot of time as I’m watching the Pirates game I am communicating with people in California and other far-flung locations, especially watching WVU,” said Foreman, who works in development at Bucknell University.

Will Hunsinger knows exactly what Foreman is talking about.

Hunsinger, 42, is a proud Georgetown alum and avid follower of the men’s basketball team.