It's confusing enough to try and find out who has a Comcast subscription so you can catch and Astros or Rockets game, but imagine if you really loved the NHL? How would you catch a Philadelphia Flyers game in Houston? A new website developed by locals aims to help solve that problem.
BarJinx, created by a couple local sports fans from Cinco Ranch, is a deceptively simple interface for finding out what bars and restaurants might have your game on tonight. When CSN Houston first launched, one of the first things people who didn't have (or want) Comcast began to do was look for ways to find out where they could watch it. Mostly this was done via social media, message boards and good old fashioned calling around. BarJinx, for the most part, puts that information in a single place.
Navigating the BarJinx website and doing searches is simple. Set your location and search for a team. The search engine returns results for upcoming games involving your team, shows them on a map and gives you a relative estimate of the distance from your location. I was surprised at how many venues had access to a wide range of games. From the aforementioned Philadelphia Flyers to the Michigan Wolverines to the Sacramento Kings, there were upcoming games being shown in town for all of them.
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Of course, the results are based on the subscriptions these bars and restaurants have, so it is certainly possible that while they may have the ability to put on a game from Boise State, they might not do it. Best bet is to call first.
But, the fact that there is information here is hopeful. And if you create your own account, you can request showings of a particular game in your area, see if anyone else wants to meet and the like. The social aspect of the site will no doubt grow if they are able to find an audience.
For now, they are strictly in the Houston market, but no doubt that will expand if the website's popularity grows and I for one hope it does. One of the signature problems that occurs on the Internet is how to collect and disseminate data that isn't readily available. In this case, how do you figure out what games are on, where they are playing and get that information to people who want it. These guys seem to have the method down.
The trick is going to be keeping it current. You know what they say about good intentions, and this certainly feels like the kind of thing that could become difficult to maintain, but it's a very good idea and what exists now works extremely well. If BarJinx survives and grows, it could be an invaluable resource for sports fans, particularly fans of teams not residing in the town they currently live...or teams on networks in dispute with major cable providers.