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Publication numberUS20080076497 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/466,827
Publication dateMar 27, 2008
Filing dateAug 24, 2006
Priority dateAug 24, 2006
Publication number11466827, 466827, US 2008/0076497 A1, US 2008/076497 A1, US 20080076497 A1, US 20080076497A1, US 2008076497 A1, US 2008076497A1, US-A1-20080076497, US-A1-2008076497, US2008/0076497A1, US2008/076497A1, US20080076497 A1, US20080076497A1, US2008076497 A1, US2008076497A1
InventorsJamie Jonathan Kiskis, Alexander Johanson Stump
Original AssigneeJamie Jonathan Kiskis
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method and system for online prediction-based entertainment
US 20080076497 A1
Abstract
In one embodiment of the invention, a method for online entertainment comprises the initial steps of providing a user identification system that enables a user to have access to an online community of contestants, and of offering an interactive selection of actual entertainment events to the user. Such a selection of actual entertainment events may be a string of occurrences, for instance, a football season with a certain number of games, or one or more occurrences within a string of occurrences, for instance, a group of games within the football season, or an isolated occurrence, for instance, a football game. The string of occurrences, such as the above mentioned football season or games, may have not yet begun or be already in progress. In other embodiments of the invention, a system and a computer program product are provided that provide online entertainment according to the above described method.
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Claims(31)
1. A method for online prediction-based entertainment comprising the steps of:
(a) providing a user identification system that enables access to an online community of contestants;
(b) offering an interactive selection of actual entertainment events to a user, the actual entertainment events being scheduled to be performed,
wherein the selection of actual entertainment events is a string of occurrences, one or more occurrences within a string of occurrences, or an isolated occurrence, and
wherein the string of occurrences has yet to begin or is in progress;
(c) requiring the user to select one or more of the actual entertainment events;
(d) enabling the user to make predictions on one or more features of the one or more of the actual entertainment events selected by the user, thereby testing the user's predictive capabilities; and
(e) recognizing the user with the best predictive capabilities for the one or more of the actual entertainment events.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the user identification system is structured to provide the user with the option of adopting a user name different from his legal name.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein the actual entertainment events are sport events, wherein the string of occurrences is a sport tournament, and wherein the occurrence is a sport match or a portion of a sport match.
4. The method of claim 1, wherein the predictive capabilities of the user are exposed to the entire online community or only to a portion of the online community.
5. The method of claim 4, further comprising the step of rewarding the user with a prize determined by a plurality of factors comprising the number of contestants and the amount of sponsoring revenues.
6. The method of claim 5, wherein a software program converts the predictions into points that are tabulated.
7. The method of claim 6, wherein the points are awarded according to the accuracies of the predictions within predetermined prediction ranges.
8. The method of claim 1, wherein the predictive capabilities of the user are measured against members of a pre-identified portion of the online community.
9. The method of claim 1, further comprising the step of providing the user with customized statistical data about one or more of the user's predictive capabilities and of the actual entertainment events.
10. The method of claim 9, wherein the customized statistical data are provided to the user by tabulating raw statistical data supplied by an outside source.
11. The method of claim 1, further comprising the step of providing a moderator to the online community or to a portion of the online community.
12. The method of claim 11, wherein the moderator is one user defining one or more of the actual entertainment events with a group of other members of the online community.
13. The method of claim 12, wherein the group of other members predicts the performances of actual participants in actual entertainment events, and wherein the moderator insures that the predictions are provided in advance of the actual entertainment events.
14. The method of claim 1, wherein the user's participation in the online entertainment is free of charge.
15. The method of claim 1, wherein the user's participation to the online entertainment is subject to a monetary charge.
16. A system for providing online prediction-based entertainment, the system comprising:
a user terminal having a user interface that is interactive with a browser to communicate online; and
a server communicating online with the user terminal, wherein the server,
provides the user terminal with a user identification system that enables access to an online community,
offers an interactive selection of actual entertainment events to a user by displaying the interactive selection on the user terminal, the actual entertainment events being scheduled to be performed,
wherein the selection of actual entertainment events is a string of occurrences, one or more occurrences within a string of occurrences, or an isolated occurrence, and
wherein the string of occurrences has yet to begin or is in progress,
requires the user to select one or more of the actual entertainment events,
enables the user to make predictions on one or more features of the one or more of the actual entertainment events selected by the user, thereby testing the user's predictive capabilities, and
recognizes the user with the best predictive capabilities for the one or more of the actual entertainment events.
17. The system of claim 16, wherein the user identification system is structured to provide the user with the option of adopting a user name different from his real name.
18. The system of claim 1 6, wherein the actual entertainment events are sport events, wherein the string of occurrences is a sport tournament, and wherein the occurrence is a sport match or a portion of a sport match.
19. The system of claim 1 6, wherein the predictive capabilities of the user are exposed to the entire online community or only to a portion of the online community.
20. The system of claim 1 9, wherein the server calculates and displays rewards for the user with the best predictive capabilities according to plurality of factors comprising the number of contestants and the amount of advertising sponsors.
21. The system of claim 20, wherein a software program converts the predictions into points that are tabulated.
22. The system of claim 21, wherein the points are awarded according to the accuracies of the predictions within predetermined prediction ranges.
23. The system of claim 1 8, wherein the predictive capabilities of the user are measured against members of a pre-identified portion of the online community.
24. The system of claim 1 6, wherein the server further provides the user with customized statistical data about one or more of the user's predictive capabilities and of the actual entertainment events.
25. The system of claim 24, wherein the customized statistical data are provided to the user by tabulating raw statistical data supplied by an outside source.
26. The system of claim 1 6, wherein the server further provides access to a moderator to the online community or to a portion of the online community.
27. The system of claim 26, wherein the moderator is one user defining one or more of the actual entertainment events with a group of other members of the online community.
28. The system of claim 27, wherein the group of other users predicts the performances of actual participants in actual entertainment events, and wherein the moderator insures that the predictions are provided in advance of the actual entertainment events.
29. The system of claim 28, wherein the user's participation in the online entertainment is free of charge.
30. The system of claim 1 6, wherein the user's participation to the online entertainment is subject to a monetary charge.
31. A computer program product comprising a computer usable medium having computer readable program code embodied therein for online prediction-based entertainment, the computer program product comprising:
computer readable program code for causing the computer to provide a user identification system that enables access to an online community of contestants;
computer readable program code for causing the computer to offer an interactive selection of actual entertainment events to a user, wherein the actual entertainment events are scheduled to be performed, wherein the selection of actual entertainment events is a string of occurrences, one or more occurrences within a string of occurrences, or an isolated occurrence, and wherein the string of occurrences has yet to begin or is in progress;
computer readable program code for causing the computer to require the user to select one or more of the actual entertainment events;
computer readable program code for causing the computer to enable the user to make predictions on one or more features of the one or more of the actual entertainment events selected by the user, thereby testing the user's predictive capabilities; and
computer readable program code for causing the computer to recognize the user with the best predictive capabilities for the one or more of the actual entertainment events.
Description
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED REASEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

Not applicable.

REFERENCE TO A COMPUTER LISTING, A TABLE, OR A COMPUTER PROGRAM LISTING COMPACT DISK APPENDIX

Not applicable.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention is directed at a method and a system for online entertainment. More particularly, the present invention is directed at a method and a system that enable a user to prove his knowledge of popular events in comparison with other members within the same online community, or in comparison with a limited number of members within the same online community.

2. Description of Related Art

There is a strong public appetite for receiving information and providing prognostications on sport events and, more generally, on situations that involve celebrities, such as music, movie, and political events. To meet this appetite, an online industry has emerged that has attracted different segments of the public to web sites that provide various types of information or betting opportunities on sport or celebrity events. Certain web sites may also provide “fantasy games,” where, if a sport tournament is involved, a user may create or choose a team composed of players from different actual teams and predict the performance of that team on the basis of the performance of those players in the teams and matches where they actually play.

It is estimated that online sports betting websites have grown from 25 in 1997 to 1,800 in 2005, producing $3.7 billions in revenues in 2005. While internet gambling is illegal in the United States, online gambling providers may make their services available worldwide by operating from friendlier countries, for instance, certain South American countries. Such a ready availability of online gambling has not only provided access to an illegal service in the United States, but has also caused a proliferation of internet gambling addition cases, which are estimated to have increased 25% during the 2004-2005 period.

The U.S. legislator and various U.S. financial institutions have begun taking steps against this illegal, addictive practice by introducing legislation that would prohibit financial institutions from transferring funds to gambling internet sites and by auditing certain types of credit card transactions. The problem, however, seems to reside in the unabated public interest in betting, and, in general, in every variety of predictive contests related to sports, pop culture, politics, and other entertainment events.

The same high level of interest in predicting the outcomes of sports and other entertainment events extends to fantasy sport games. It is estimated that seven million Americans visited the top three fantasy sport sites during 2005 and that each visitor accessed more than 200 pages of fantasy sport content every month, a cumulative amount that is nearly double the amount of general sport pages accessed during the same period. Although a number of fantasy sport sites offer prizes such a television sets to winners of certain contests, the rewards offered make these sites different from betting sites both in the nature of the prizes offered, in seemingly avoiding gambling addictions, and also in being free of the regulatory constraints imposed on betting organizations.

Both the betting and the fantasy games web sites are presently offering a selection of entertainment events to choose from, for example, sport tournaments like the National Football League, National Basketball Association, or PGA Golf, to mention just a few. Entertainment events based on pop culture, politics, and other relevant topics are also being offered. None of these web sites, however, offer a user the opportunity to test his predictive abilities for actual contests, rather than for fantasy contests, without engaging in a betting scheme. In particular, none of these web sites offer a user the opportunity to test his predictive abilities on team- and player-based questions, beyond the name of the winner of a certain contest.

Therefore, there is a need for an online entertainment system that enables a user to test his predictive abilities about actual sport, pop culture, political, or other popular events rather than about fantasy events.

There is a further need for an online entertainment system that enables a user to test his predictive abilities about actual sport, pop culture, political, or other popular events without engaging in a betting scheme.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed at an online entertainment method and system that enables a user to test his predictive abilities about actual sport, pop culture, political, or other popular events in relation to other users within an online community, or against a limited number of users within the same online community.

In a first embodiment of the invention, a method for online entertainment is provided that comprises the initial steps of generating a user identification system that enables access to an online community of contestants, and then of providing the user with an interactive selection of actual entertainment events. Such a selection of actual entertainment events may be a string of occurrences, for instance, a football season composed of a certain number of games, or one or more occurrences within a string of occurrences, for instance, a group of games within the football season, or an isolated occurrence, for instance, an individual football game or certain portions or aspects of a specific football game. The string of occurrences, such as the above mentioned football season or games, may have not yet begun or be already in progress.

In subsequent steps of the method according to the first embodiment, the user may select one or more of the actual entertainment events, for instance, a football season or a football game, and make predictions on one or more features of the entertainment events, for instance, the final score of a football game or number of passes made by a quarterback. In making such predictions, the user's predictive capabilities are tested, and, in a final step of the present embodiment, the user with the best predictive capabilities is recognized and, if appropriate, rewarded.

In a second embodiment of the invention, a system for online entertainment is provided that comprises a user terminal with a user interface that is interactive with a browser. A server is then enabled to communicate online with the user terminal by means of the browser and of the user interface. The server can then provide the user terminal with a user identification system that allows a user to gain access to an online community, and also with an interactive selection of actual entertainment events that is displayed to the user on the user terminal.

Such a selection of actual entertainment events may include a string of occurrences, for instance, a football season composed of a certain number of games, or one or more occurrences within a string of occurrences, for instance, a group of games within the football season, or an isolated occurrence, for instance, an individual football game. The string of occurrences, for instance, the above mentioned football season or game, may have not begun yet or be already in progress.

Further, the server is structured to offer the opportunity to the user of selecting one or more of the actual entertainment events, for instance, a football season or a football game, and of making predictions on one or more features of the entertainment events, for instance, the number of passes completed by a quaterback in a football game, or the number of touchdown receptions by a wide receiver. In making such predictions, the user's predictive capabilities are tested, and, after the server has received, processed, elaborated, and tabulated data inputted from different users, the user with the best predictive capabilities is identified, so that he may be recognized and, if appropriate, rewarded.

In a third embodiment of the invention, a computer program product is provided that comprises a computer usable medium containing computer readable program code for providing online entertainment according to the above described method.

It is an aspect of the present invention to provide an online entertainment system that enables a user to test his predictive abilities about actual sport, pop culture, political, or other popular events rather than about fantasy events.

It is another aspect of the present invention to provide an online entertainment system that enables a user to test his predictive abilities about actual sport, pop culture, political, or other popular events without engaging in a betting scheme.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

The drawings constitute a part of this specification and include exemplary embodiments of the invention, which may be embodied in various forms. It is to be understood that in some instances various aspects of the invention may be shown exaggerated or enlarged to facilitate an understanding of the invention.

FIG. 1 is a schematic representation of a method for online entertainment according to a first embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a schematic representation of a system for providing online entertainment according to a second embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 3 is a pictorial representation of the option offered to the user of creating certain user names that is provided in the embodiment of FIG. 1

FIGS. 4A-4B are pictorial representations of the build-up of a user profile in the embodiment of FIG. 1

FIG. 5 is pictorial representation of the display of terms of service in the embodiment of FIG. 1

FIG. 6 is pictorial representation of the offered selection between playing in the online community at large and within selected groups that is provided in the embodiment of FIG. 1.

FIG. 7 is a pictorial representation of a mode of entertainment provided in the embodiment of FIG. 1.

FIG. 8 is a pictorial representation of a message board display provided in the embodiment of FIG. 1.

FIG. 9 is a pictorial representation of a collection of information provided in the embodiment of FIG. 1.

FIG. 10 is a schematic representation of a system for online entertainment according to a second embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Detailed descriptions of embodiments of the invention are provided herein. It is to be understood, however, that the present invention may be embodied in various forms. Therefore, the specific details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but rather as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art how to employ the present invention in virtually any detailed system, structure, or manner.

Referring to FIG. 1, there is shown a first embodiment 10 of the invention, which will be described herein in relation to an entertainment method based on a sport event, such as the NFL football, NBA basketball, MLB baseball, or NHL ice hockey tournaments, or golf tournaments such as the PGA Tour or the Buick© Invitational. However, one skilled in the art will recognize that the present method is equally applicable to other types of sports and, in general, to other types of of celebrity events, for instance, to music or movie events such as the Academy Awards, the Emmy Awards, the Golden Globe Awards and the Grammy Awards, or to political events such as a U.S. presidential election.

The following description is based on the exemplary embodiment implemented in the experimental internet web site www.ontherecordsports.com developed by Applicant. However, one skilled in the art will recognize that the present invention is equally applicable to a variety of other web sites. Therefore, the description herein is to be considering only exemplary and non-limiting.

In a first step 12 of method 10, a user accesses a dedicated web site by providing a user name and a password. Prior to signing up, the user is greeted with a web site display that graphically summarizes the nature of the online entertainment and that entices the user to sign up. Such a display may contain a combination of written sentences and graphical symbols that collectively deliver a snapshot overview of the entertainment offered by the web site and that entice the user to test his predictive skills. In particular, such a display may contain a captioned list of features that are expected to stimulate the user to signing up, for instance, “It's competitive,” “It's fun,” “It's free,” “It's easy,” “It's rewarding,” “It's personalized,” and so on. An example of such a web display is identified by reference numeral 22 in FIG. 2.

Upon sign-up, the user is identified though the combination of a user name and a password, and, further, the user name is employed to identify that user before other users in each contest in the web site, in which the user elects to participate, while his real identity remains concealed in respect of the user's privacy. Alternatively, the user may elect identify himself through a user name that is his real name rather than a fictitious name. The user may also adopt a different user name for all contests within the web site or for a certain contest. To enable the user to adopt such alternative user name, he is provided with the opportunity to create a “handle,” that is, a different identification that will still enable him to still conceal his real identity, but also to assume a different user name from the one previously selected. When a “handle” is created, the user is provided with an example of the acceptable alphanumeric lettering for the “handle.” Thus, the user may create a plurality of “handles” for different contests in which he will participate. An example of a web display that enables the user to create a “handle” is identified by reference numeral 24 in FIG. 3.

By signing up with the web site, the user joins the online community of all of the users for the same web site. Accordingly, at the time of sign up, the user is required to provide contact information, in order to meet different web site requirements that relate to security, marketing, and overall management of the web site. First, the user is identified for security purposes, enabling the web master to associate the user name with the real identity of the user, and possibly to ban the user in the event of a behavior contrary to the web site's terms of service, to acceptable ethical standards, or to the law, or in case of harassing or otherwise inappropriate conduct. Second, the user is identified to create a database that can be later harvested for commercial purposes, for example, for targeted advertising. Third, the web master is provided with access to the contact information of the user that enables the web master to deliver to the user any awards that the user may win while playing on the web site. An example of such a profile build-up is identified by reference numerals 26 and 28 in FIGS. 4A-4B.

After completing the initial sign up, the user is welcomed to the web site and reminded of the web site's terms of service, which the user is required to accept prior to proceeding further. In particular, the terms of use specifically state the online nature of the entertainment, the web site's procedures related to web site features such as prize awards, the requirement for an affidavit of eligibility in case of a prize winning, and minimum age requirements. Further, the terms of service provide the user with standards of conduct to comply with applicable laws and regulations, and with minimum requirements of ethics and civility, thereby giving the web master with the necessary foundation to ban an undesirable user. An example of the display of such terms of service is identified by reference numeral 30 in FIG. 5.

A second step 14 is then implemented, in which the user is offered a selection of sport events from which to choose. During the user's residence in the web site, a footer provides the user with links to the terms of use, to the site's privacy policy, to contact information and to a site map. Optionally, upon signup and/or throughout residence in the web site, the user is reminded through appropriate notices that the site's intellectual property is protected by certain copyright, trademark, and patent applications and/or grants.

The user is also offered the opportunity to play publicly, as a single member within the online community at large, or as a member within a restricted group of other users. When playing publicly, the performance of the user is measured against the performance of all other members of the online community and can be seen and monitored by all other members of the community. Conversely, when playing in one or more restricted groups, the performance of the user is measured only against the performance of other members of each restricted group and can be seen only by the other members of that group. An example of the offered selection between playing in the online community at large and within restricted groups is identified by tabs 32 and 34 in FIG. 6.

Accordingly, to promptly direct the user to the different areas of the web site and to the different games for which he has signed up, after sign-in is completed, the user is asked whether he wants to be directed to the games that are open to the entire online community (defined as “My Games”), or to the user groups he has joined (defined as “My Groups”). The user's selection of games may also be stored for later retrieval. Upon the appropriate selection, if the user has selected “My Games,” he is directed to a summary of all the open games that he has previously joined, or which he has previously targeted as of interest. Conversely, if he has selected “My Groups,” he is directed to the groups of users he had previously elected to join. At the same time, the user is also free to join new games or online groups.

It should be pointed out that the method for online entertainment described herein is directed only at actual entertainment events, for instance, actual sport events performed by actual players in actual teams in actual tournaments. In this respect, the present method is different from “fantasy” sport events, in which a user creates, for instance, a fictitious team formed by actual athletes and then measures his predictive capabilities by drawing analogies with the actual performances of those athletes in actual sport matches.

In the next step 16, the user is required to select his mode of entertainment, that is, what type of sport event to make predictions about (for instance, football) and within which environment to play, a public environment or a restricted environment, in which the user plays in a private or semi-private mode. An example of the mode of entertainment provided is identified by reference numeral 36 in FIG. 7.

In the next step 18, the user is enabled to make predictions on one or more features of a sport tournament (or season), or on one or more features of a number of matches (or games) within a tournament (or season), or on one or more features of an individual match (or game). For example, a user may predict one or more features of the Davis Cup tennis tournament in a given year, or one or more features of the Australia-USA meet (if applicable), or one or more features only of the doubles match within the Australia-USA meet. In the mentioned example, an exemplary feature may be, among others, the number of aces made by a player in a specific match or within a meet, or the number of games won by the Australian team during the doubles match.

Finally, in step 20, the user that has shown the best predictive capabilities for an entertainment event is recognized, and he may receive a reward, if within the game rules. That reward may be predetermined or may change depending on the number of players as more and more users join the game over time. Further, the reward may be based on the best predictive capabilities of a user in relation to a single event, that is, a single sport contest, or to a string of games, or to an entire tournament.

Preferably, a software program connected to the web site provides an automatic conversion into points of the accuracy of a user's predictions. Typically, this software program contains code directed at crediting a user with points for each contest in an amount corresponding to the accuracy of the user's predictions, and creating deadlines for entering predictions for individual events. Further, the software program may automatically advise a user, for instance, by e-mail or by a message posted on a message board, that he is the winner of a certain contest, or advise users in general about their individual and cumulative performance for the games they have participated in.

The above described entertainment may be free of charge or charge-based. If free of charge, the reward received by the winner is based on a variety of factors, such as the number of contestants and on the income made available by the advertising sponsors. As will be apparent to one skilled in the art, proper language may be added to the web site to disclaim obligations to reward minimum prizes under any conditions, because the web master may want to retain flexibility to reward certain prizes only if adequate income levels have been generated. Further, the web master may want to retain the discretion to increase award levels for promotional purposes regardless of sponsor income, for instance, to attract a larger number of users by offering specific award levels, or to maximize the web site's income by reducing award size in relation to the advertising income.

Alternatively, the above described entertainment may be fee based, and the winners' rewards will then be based not only on the previously discussed factors, but also on income generated through user-paid fees. It should be pointed out, however, that the entertainment according to the present embodiment is not structured as a betting scheme, but it is designed instead to operate as a pure entertainment system, adapted for all ages and free of the restrictions imposed on betting games by the applicable laws and regulations, and also free of the compulsive addictions that may be created in users of betting schemes.

The operation of the present entertainment method will be now be exemplified with a potential contest based on the 2006 soccer World Cup, where Brazil is a competing team, where Brazil's first match is scheduled to be against the team of Croatia, and where Ronaldo is a striker for Brazil. In this exemplary embodiment, a user may answer a number of questions that relate to the World Cup overall, or to a series of matches within the World Cup, or to a specific match, such as the following questions:

Will Brazil win the first match against Croatia?

Will Brazil or Croatia strike first?

By how many goals will Brazil win or lose their first match with Croatia?

How may goals will Ronaldo score in Brazil's first match against Croatia?

Each question would be associated with a number of points, which would be awarded to the user if he provided correct answers. The points of each user would be tabulated, and, at the end of the game, an order of finish for the various users would be provided.

In a different exemplary embodiment, a group of users may associate to form a defined user group within the overall online community. Using again the soccer World Cup as a reference, a user group may comprise, for example, users that are particularly interested in the team of Italy. Such a user group may be created by a specific user that would act as a moderator, or instead another user or even another party may be selected to act as a moderator of the group. In this scenario, the users participating in that user group may identify themselves with the user names they created upon sign-up, or with a different user names, that is, with different “handles.” Further, a user may test his predictive capabilities against all members of the group, or within a limited number of members of the group.

In this situation, the user would select the “My Groups” feature and be directed to all the user groups he has joined. Successively, he would select the specific group related to the Italian soccer team (or subgroup within that group) and, if desired, enter his predictions on certain features related to the performance of the Italian team. For instance, the user may answer questions such as:

Will Francesco Totti (an Italian midfielder) play in the opening match of their group against Ghana?

By how many goals will Italy defeat or be defeated by Ghana?

Will Filippo Inzaghi (an Italian striker) play and score in the match against the United States (a member of the same group as Italy)?

The web site described hereinbefore may include other predictive and non-predictive entertainment options.

One predictive option is the opportunity for a user to make predictions within predetermined ranges, and to be rewarded with a number of points according to the position of the prediction within each range. If the user's prediction is exactly accurate, he will be awarded the maximum possible number of points for that prediction. The less accurate the user's prediction within that range, he will be awarded a number of points that is correspondingly lower.

One non-predictive option is a message board system, which may be denominated with colorful names such as the “Smack Board.” In order to participate in that message board system, a user is first required to identify himself, either with one of the user names that he has previously created, or with a new user name that he would then have to create. Further, a plurality of message boards may be offered, so that the user may participate on discussions on different topics in different message boards, using the same user name in each board. An example of message board display is identified by reference numeral 38 in FIG. 8.

Another non-predictive option is a stream of statistical information that is related to events, such as sport events, in which members of the online community may have a specific interest. Such statistical information can be displayed on the computer screen by having the user click on one or more appropriate links on a side panel. That statistical information may be provided as received from outside sources, for instance, from outside dedicated providers or feed streams, or may be based on statistics provided by outside sources and reworked by the web master or by the moderators of certain user groups, or may even be developed entirely by the web master or by one or more moderators.

Still another non-predictive option is a collection of information that may be of general interest to the members of the online community, for example, sport news, sport standings, play schedules, polls, team compositions, and other sport and entertainment news that is general in nature or related to specific sports or other celebrity entertainment. An example of the display of such collection of information is identified by reference numeral 40 in FIG. 9.

The present invention also concerns a system 42 for providing online entertainment, which is schematically summarized in FIG. 10.

A user terminal 44 is provided that has a user interface 46, which is interactive with a browser 48 and which enables a user, keying appropriate information into user terminal 44, to communicate online. A server 52 is also provided, which communicates online through the internet and to which user terminal 44 can be connected online through user interface 46, browser 48, and internet 50. One skilled in the art will recognize that user terminal 44 includes any suitable terminal to receive and display information signals, including, for example, computer terminals, cell phones, and personal digital assistants. Likewise, one skilled in the art will recognize that online communication may be achieved with a variety of technologies, including, for example, hard wiring, fiber optic transmission, and wireless communication.

Server 52 is structured to elaborate data and to communicate such data back to user terminal 44, causing appropriate signals to be graphically displayed on terminal 44. In particular, server 52 is programmed to provide online entertainment according to the above-described method, interacting with one or more users through terminal 44 and receiving, processing, elaborating, and tabulating data inputted from the one or more users. Therefore, server 52 provides the necessary hardware for the method in the first embodiment to be implemented.

Embodiments other than those specifically described herein will be apparent to one skilled in the art and are within the scope of the invention. In particular, the invention also concerns a computer program for executing the above described method that is readable by a computer, and a machine-readable memory tangibly containing a program of instructions executable by the above described server.

While the invention has been described in connection with the above described embodiments, it is not intended to limit the scope of the invention to the particular forms set forth, but on the contrary, it is intended to cover such alternatives, modifications, and equivalents as may be included within the scope of the invention. Further, the scope of the present invention fully encompasses other embodiments that may become obvious to those skilled in the art and the scope of the present invention is limited only by the appended claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
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US8002618 *Jan 10, 2007Aug 23, 2011Winview, Inc.Method of and system for conducting multiple contests of skill with a single performance
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Classifications
U.S. Classification463/9
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/3288, G07F17/32
European ClassificationG07F17/32, G07F17/32P2
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 24, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: KISKIS, MR JAMIE JONATHAN, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:STUMP, MR ALEXANDER JOHANSON;REEL/FRAME:018164/0197
Effective date: 20060823