Last November, after recording and watching what proved to be a clunker of a game between the Bears and the 49ers, Warren Packard felt as though he had wasted his time. "I thought, If someone had just told me this was a really bad game, I would have been much better off," he says. Fortunately for the modern, multitasking fan, Packard's dull evening gave birth to a new tool for the digital arsenal: Thuuz.
What's Thuuz? It's a free online service that provides an objective measure of a game's excitement on a 100-point scale using play-by-play data and advanced algorithms. The trick is that it doesn't reveal the outcome, allowing users to experience the drama (or skip a DVR'd dud) themselves. Saving even more time, it tells them the best point in the game at which to tune in.
After having his epiphany last fall, Packard, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, tapped tech business connections to help develop Thuuz (derived from enthusiast). It was beta-tested during the NCAA tournament and the World Cup before going public at the start of the current football season.
Thuuz works by scoring games in real time based on competitiveness, pace and novelty. The home page lists the most exciting ongoing and recent games, displaying only a rating of their watch-worthiness. Users can receive e-mail or text alerts when a game is heating up, or follow links to view available games online.
Packard says that while some fans gripe about their favorite team's wins earning low ratings, the target audience is not the victory-hungry homer but the fan looking to catch entertaining games while juggling a busy schedule. Packard is eyeing user customizing that would include such factors as rooting interests and favorite style of play. Also on the agenda are partnerships with the leagues themselves to make watching recordings of games a few clicks away. The excitement meter is rising.