SBJ/Sept. 2-8, 2013/In Depth

Reviewing NFL team apps

Where do teams score with mobile users and where do they come up short?

The list of NFL team mobile application developers totals a whopping six, with only two of the vendors appearing more than once on the list: YinzCam and Adept Mobile.

YinzCam, built by former Carnegie Mellon professor and now CEO Priya Narasimhan, holds the developer title to 25 of the 32 NFL team apps.

The “independents” consist of eight teams. Jacksonville, Kansas City, Oakland and Washington each have a unique partner. Adept Mobile carries Miami, San Diego and Cleveland. New England has apps on both the YinzCam and Adept Mobile platforms.

“The uptake of teams to the YinzCam service was organic in nature,” Narasimhan said. “We had four teams on the platform in 2010. From there, teams kept jumping onboard.”

A 12-team sponsorship arrangement with Verizon Wireless contributed to the rapid migration as well, she said.
How does the YinzCam app work, and what has contributed to its popularity?

Fans inside the stadium, either over an in-venue Wi-Fi network or a 3G/4G cellular DAS (distributed antenna system), can get the NFL RedZone channel within the app. With the YinzCam technology, they can also watch instant replays from four different camera angles.

“Fans at the game can watch every play and every drive of every NFL team,” Narasimhan said. “Fans outside the stadium can view team news, statistics and other data.”

Each team is allowed unlimited customization of its app, so when one team innovates, other teams follow.

“YinzCam becomes an application for team-to-team ideation, and this amplification has had a major impact on the success of the product,” Narasimhan said.

The in-venue NFL RedZone access and the instant replay functionality are the two things that differentiate YinzCam from the crowd. The company’s license to stream NFL RedZone, however, is nonexclusive.

The app features from other developers vary from team to team, but none offer in-venue streaming and instant replay. In fact, many teams have opted to offer apps without scores and statistics, perhaps as a cost savings measure. Offering such services usually requires paying an outside vendor to supply a continuous feed.

The direction that teams take next with their apps may be decided by whether other vendors potentially join YinzCam in their nonexclusive license with NFL RedZone.

Amie Sheridan(amie.sheridan31@gmail.com) is a writer in Philadelphia.

Washington Redskins

Developer: Mobile Roadie
What it offers: Team roster, game schedule, coach and front office information, team news, photos, video, event listings and links to social media, NFL Fantasy and other Redskins online content. Users can watch live and on-demand video such as news conferences within the app.
Notable features: Redskins Rally offers a list of Redskins bars, searchable by state, along with Facebook and Foursquare check-in capability. Fans can create photo cards of themselves on a Redskins background to share via social media or save to a device camera roll.
Added value: The Redskins music section is a nice add-on.
Biggest problem: There are no game scores or team statistics within the app. Other key features, like league standings, are difficult to locate.
Sponsor: Verizon
In-app revenue streams: N/A
Available on: iOS, Android
Bottom line: The app is filled with unique features, but it leaves out the basics. Scores, game previews and recaps are a must. The ability to play Redskins music is cool and the Redskins Rally bar-finder is worth a look.




Oakland Raiders

Developer: TIBCO
What it offers: A fan guide with venue information, box office phone numbers, aggregated social network feed, team roster with player cards, game schedule, scores, Raiderette profiles, team news, social media links, video on demand and featured promotions. The Raider Nation section includes exclusive offers, fan polls and an image store.
Notable features: Though somewhat hidden, integration with NFL Ticket Exchange offers a mobile-friendly purchasing experience within the app including a seating chart and number of available tickets by game.
Added value: For fans that opt in, the app sends out stadium, game time (nonscore) and image store alerts.
Biggest problem: The main navigation menu is tough to see at the top right of the screen.
Sponsor: None
In-app revenue streams: Banner advertising, ticketing, photo store
Available on: iOS
Bottom line: A snappy app with a lot of great features, many of which are hidden in a near-invisible menu. Team statistics are left out, as is live video.




Jacksonville Jaguars

Developer: DoApp
What it offers: Team news, roster, photo galleries, video on demand, game schedule, Jaguars radio, weather, ticket information, social media tools and a link to the team store.
Notable features: The scrolling news feed and weather feature are nice additions.
Added value: Fans can submit a story via the app; a nice way to make fans feel connected to the team.
Biggest problem: There are no team stats or scores. The schedule, shop and ticket sections link to the team website, which does not render well on smartphones.
Sponsor: None
In-app revenue streams: Banner advertising
Available on: iOS, Android
Bottom line: This app has a mobile-friendly layout at first load, but digging into the individual sections uncovers more than a few links to the team’s desktop site. The app needs some refreshing along with the addition of scores and stats.





Baltimore Ravens

Developer: YinzCam
What it offers: Live scores and statistics, game previews, latest news, live in-stadium video and instant replay, game schedule, league standings, fantasy tracker, draft database, social tools, cheerleader gallery, stadium info, links to team store.
Notable features: Using augmented reality, fans can wear the Super Bowl XLVII ring or stand next to the trophy. There is also a decibel meter for tracking noise around the app.
Added value: A concession ordering feature brings food and drink directly to your seat with a tap of the screen.
Biggest problem: No issues observed.
Sponsor: Verizon
In-app revenue streams: Banner advertising, concessions ordering
Available on: iOS, Android
Bottom line: The app is filled with creative innovations. It also succeeds in including all of the basics that a fan might expect to find within a team’s mobile app. Access to the NFL RedZone feed and the ability to watch instant replays of every drive really make this app stand out.




Miami Dolphins

Developer: Adept Mobile
What it offers: Team and league scores, schedules, standings, statistics, news, audio, photos, live play-by-play, live blog, roster, depth chart, cheerleader photo galleries.
Notable features: Fans can buy tickets within this app via Ticketmaster.
Added value: Members of the Fin Club loyalty rewards program can earn points while using the app to redeem prizes.
Biggest problem: No live-streaming functionality.
Sponsor: None
Revenue streams: Rotating ads within ticketing section only.
Available on: iOS, Android
Bottom line: This is your basic, full-service team mobile app that includes everything a fan might want to know before, during or after a game. Aside from the exclusion of a live streaming feature, this app has a quick, simple interface that gets the job done. Loyalty rewards integration is a smart addition by the Dolphins.




New England Patriots

Developer: Adept Mobile
What it offers: Team and league scores, schedules, standings, statistics, news, video on demand, photos, live play-by-play, live blog, roster, depth chart, in-app merchandise store.
Notable features: mPoints loyalty program gives users points without a required registration.
Added value: The ProShop is designed for the mobile platform, offering game-worn jerseys and licensed merchandise.
Biggest problem: No live streaming functionality.
Sponsor: Verizon
In-app revenue streams: Banner advertising, merchandise
Available on: iOS, Android
Bottom line: A great twist on the Adept Mobile platform is the addition of the ProShop and mPoints loyalty rewards. Without leaving the app’s smooth interface, fans can buy merchandise and check out within minutes. All of the other basics are covered.






Kansas City Chiefs

Developer: Locker Partner*
What it offers: The app helps fans locate their seat at the game, find amenities, restrooms and their vehicle afterward. It offers a media stream with images, live video and on-demand video, podcasts, team contact information, news and links to buy tickets.
Notable features: The “locate” feature is impressive, giving fans step-by-step instructions to find what they’re looking for at the game.
Added value: Similar to other apps, a media stream section brings together images, video and podcasts in a single location.
Biggest problem: Scores, schedules and the basic information that a fan might want to access within the team’s official mobile app are overlooked.
Sponsor: None
In-app revenue streams: None
Available on: iOS
Bottom line: Basic, yet practical. The app is primarily geared toward fans that are at the game.
* According to sources, YinzCam will be launching a new Chiefs app before the 2013 season.


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