Bluefields app helps organize amateur sports leagues


Running a team sport can be a nightmare even in this age of instant communications as parents and players often call at the last second because they are at the wrong venue, have the incorrect day in their calendar or a host of other reasons that might cause issues.

Anybody that has run a youth soccer team or league, or a little league event understands the issues all too clearly-it is like trying to heard cats and even the parents appear to lose the ability to think and plan clearly.

However just as a number of apps have emerged to help with almost any aspect of your life from upgrading your seat at a sporting event to selecting the correct wine while out to dinner there are now emerging a number of apps for sports leagues.

One that just came to our attention is Bluefields, a simple app that is designed to serve as a team management platform, a one stop shop for players, parents and coaches. It provides a single place for all of the pertinent information that a team, league or player needs to know.

It allows a user to send emails and texts to an entire team to set up practices, has a shared calendar to check on future dates and when a game is added or deleted all players can be informed at once. Also the app can be used as a tool for an entire league.

It comes with a database to store all players contact information and can be used to follow team results. A key feature for the memory challenged is that it has automatic reminders for parents and players of events and any event that is updated or changed that information is automatically sent as well.

So if you are just now starting on planning for next season it might be very well worth your while, to say nothing of your peace of mind, to take a look at the app and see if it fits your needs. Then all you have to do is remind people to install it.

AT&T Helps Stanford University Connect with Fans

Ever go to a sporting event where your phone indicates great reception but when you try to perform anything more complex than sending a text it seems as if there is no coverage? Let me rephrase that – Why is there never decent Internet access at sporting events?

The reason — major sporting events, as well as concerts and other large gatherings, now tend to overwhelm the cell sites located around the venues leading to frustrated fans wondering what their carrier is going to do about it. Now AT&T appears to be stepping to the plate with a solution.

The company has teamed with Stanford University Athletics in a 5-year deal that will bring a variety of AT&T wireless services to nine Stanford athletic venues, one of the first deals of its kind between the carrier and collegiate athletics. It is just the latest in Ma Bell’s recent effort to strike additional relationships with not only colleges but also professional sports franchises and venues, including deals already announced at places like its namesake AT&T Park in San Francisco and at Dallas Stadium.
The Stanford program comes out of AT&T’s Advanced Mobility Solutions Group and is part of the company’s drive to capitalize on the massive amount of usage and data that now flow from major sporting events, via text messages, photo uploads and other communications. The deal is designed mainly to increase the performance of smartphones and other advanced devices by allowing them to connect to the faster Wi-Fi links instead of competing for the limited cellular bandidth.

At its most basic it seems that the company realizes that fans and users are increasingly frustrated with the poor level of service that is available at most venues. With expanded Wi-Fi access fans should be able to perform many functions that are taken for granted elsewhere but often are impossible at stadiums, including checking scores, accessing video and watching instant replay as well as posting to YouTube, Facebook and other social media.

For AT&T users there is the bonus of being able to automatically use AT&T’s Wi-Fi, without the bother of going through any sort of setup or log-in through an auto-authentication process. Wi-Fi will be available to non-AT&T users as well. AT&T has also promised a suite of customized mobile apps including Live In-Stadium instant replay, interactive games and stadium guide, team information and news including real-time game and player stats and video. The Wi-Fi and other features will now be available for football games at Stanford Stadium, basketball and other indoor sports at Maples Pavilion, at the Avery Aquatics Center and other venues on campus.

Hopefully AT&T will aggressively pursue this effort as fans are increasingly seeking an interactive experience, one that they can share with friends and sadly this is increasingly impossible to do as networks are overwhelmed by user demands. I expect that rival carriers will quickly adopt a similar approach and seek their own stadium and school deals to help their customers and ward off AT&T’s efforts to expand its presence.

Pad Sales Look to Bloom in the Future, Thanks to Sports

So you are debating purchasing a pad, but are concerned with getting burned if it turns out to be a fad. In the past tablets have had a less than stellar history, with a number of major flops after the prerequisite hype predicted them as the wave of the future. So will this time be any different?

The availability of mobile sports, of course, may tip the balance toward the the tablet this time around. Watching a sporting event on a smartphone is nice but it leaves something to be desired — image size for instance. A growing number of sports outlets including Major League Baseball and ESPN offer live content that is optimized for a pad.

This is not just the past revisited in the pad or tablet space. In the past there was little in the way of operating systems optimized for the form factor, so software developers saw no reason to write for the various platforms. And the chips just did not have the power needed to provide the level of processing capabilities needed to drive acceptable video or animation. This is no longer true and you can thank the previous generations of smartphones for paving the way.

Apple’s iPad will be the leader of the pack in the near term

Market research firm Gartner has some pretty bold predictions about this field including that Apple’s iPad will dominate until at least 2015, holding off a strong push by Android developers. This is the reverse of its prediction in the smartphone field where the research company says that Android-based smartphones will dominate by the end of this year.

Overall numbers are expected to grow from approximately 69.8 million units sold worldwide this year to 250 million by 2015. Apple’s share of that is expected to be strong, but decline every year, dropping from an estimated 63.5% market share this year to 47.1% in 2015 while Android will grow from 24.4% now to 38.6% in 2015. The overall richness of the ecosystem such as a host of developers and on the Android side a number of different hardware developers will be major contributors to this growth.

If you are a fan of other operating systems such as Blackberry’s QNX, you are pretty much out of luck in the near term as it will be wallowing in the single digit market share space, along with Hewlett-Packard’s WebOS, which it gained in the Palm acquisition or the open source Linux offering MeeGo. What the smaller market means is less developer interest, so probably fewer new apps or services tailored for those types of pads.

With the growth of these platforms expect more tie-ins with both live TV broadcasts and customized information for pad users as sports franchises, leagues and broadcasters seek to exploit this emerging space.

MLB’s ‘At Bat 11’ Provides Baseball for the Mobile Fan

(By Gregger)

Just in time for baseball’s Opening Day, Major League Baseball has released an updated version of its At Bat 11 app which is available at its MLB.Com site. The program will come in several versions, each tailored to different platforms and offering similar, but not entirely the same features. Platforms supported include Apple’s iPads, the iPod touch and iPhone, as well as Blackberry and Android devices.

The $14.95 app is not a gaming program but is designed to bring a wide range of facets from current games and the season to fans who need to access the games using a their mobile devices. For all platforms it allows favorite team designation, the selection of in-progress game video highlights and the option of home or away broadcast teams.

A free trial period for live streaming of all out of market games via MLB.TV is available, sponsored by Volvo, for the opening month of the season but only for users of Apple devices running its iOS. You can watch streaming video of out of area games on Android devices running at least OS version 2.2 (with Flash support and at least an ARMv7 processor) but you do not get the free one-month trial.

It should be noted that if you are planning to subscribe to MLB.TV, it is for out of area games only and you should check to ensure that you are out of area, because some teams claim an interesting cross-segment of the country as their own, and in some cases more than one team claims an area so you might not be able to see the games that you wish. For instance one segment of Nevada is claimed by Arizona, San Francisco, San Diego and Oakland.

The level of sophistication on what is supported varies by device with Apple coming out on top and the Blackberry coming in last. For Blackberry users running at least OS 5.0 the app offers condensed games, notifications on game time starts and news features on all teams.

For the Android platform a minimum of OS version 2.1 is required and its additional features include a widget for an in-progress scoreboard, a pitch by pitch tracker, a customized home screen, expanded highlights and a video library archive that is searchable by player, team or keyword and the ability to access MLB.TV.

The iPhone and iPod touch are much the same as the Android platform but also include live look-ins at key plays for any game in progress, in area or out, and the ability to watch any archived game from 2011 on demand. The iPad also has an enhanced Gameday feature.

While baseball’s first attempts to control online media were a bit halting such as its consolidation of all teams web sites under a uniform banner in a dull and sometimes confusing site, it seems that it really now understands that fans are seeking multiple options to follow their teams and it has made a great effort to support them with its At Bat 11 and other programs.

VCU-Butler Clash Sets Stage for Mobile Sports User Insight

(By Frookie)

Victories by the Virginia Commonwealth (VCU) Rams and Butler Bulldogs to advance to the Final Four of the Men’s NCAA Basketball tournament sets up a best-case scenario for those looking to make money from the evolution of sports viewing on mobile devices.

The two small-market teams with comparatively small fan bases will face off against each other in the Final Four. That means one of the two teams will advance to the Championship in Houston on April 4.

The VCU versus Butler match up is a best-case scenario for those following the advent of sports as a mobile-viewing phenomenon because it means that good data about secondary-market teams will be available sooner rather than later. With VCU and Butler advancing, insight into the appearance of secondary market teams is available for the second consecutive year. Since favorites almost always win, mobile sports programmers could have been waiting years or even decades for year-over-year data of what it means to have a major dark horse in a major sports championship.

Butler’s Bonus From 2010 Final

For those interested in the marketing angle, the VCU-Butler game will give comparative data because it guarantees the second year running that an unheralded team will make it to the Finals. In 2010, Butler versus Duke was a Cinderella story that hoisted the Championship Game to a 16.0/25 rating on television, according to Nielsen Media Research. That tied with 2005’s North Carolina versus Illinois matchup for the highest ratings in 11 years. In 1999, Connecticut and Duke scored 16.9/25.

Last year, mobile viewing of the final doubled up on the television ratings. NCAA March Madness on Demand (MMOD), the online viewing and social media hub for the tournament, reported a total of 575,000 unique visitors who consumed 368,000 hours of Duke vs. Butler on the MMOD video player. That represented a 70 percent increase in viewers and 72 percent increase in hours viewed from 2009, while television ratings increased 35 percent between 2009 and 2010.

Regardless of what the presence of underdogs in the Final Four and NCAA Championship Game ends up showing the major brands about mobile sports programming in general, VCU and Butler already mark big wins for this year’s primary sponsors of MMOD, including Coke Zero and Subway. On-demand video of VCU and Butler will be a hot commodity for hardcore fans who may have focused on Kansas, Ohio State, Duke, Pittsburgh, San Diego State, Arizona and all the other obviously eligible favorites who have already fallen by the wayside.

The minor-market tilt will also give programmers and marketers information that can be used to plan future marketing and advertising strategies. Since neither team is in a major market, it will deliver a more “pure” viewer sample and perhaps help determine whether mobile sports consumers do favor iPads and smart phones for sporting events when a marquee team is not involved.

The other Final Four game, Kentucky versus Connecticut, also on April 2, features teams with major followings, and a superstar NBA prospect in Kemba Walker. Any contrast in usage patterns with VCU and Butler will provide valuable insight for future years.

Both games will help determine what sports programmers do not yet fully know or understand, which is whether the mix of teams in a championship game changes the mode of delivery for major sporting events. If the numbers tell programmers and advertisers that the mix of teams in a Championship game spurs the use of mobile devices as the primary viewing device, as opposed to companion viewing device to big-screen television, that’s information to be used for developing marketing strategies for future Super Bowls, the World Series, NBA Finals and upcoming NCAA Championships. Advertisers who ignore advertising and direct marketing campaigns for mobile devices would risk being blacked out whenever major-market teams are uninvolved in a major sports event, if mobile devices prove a preferred method of access by significant audience segments.

Welcome to Mobile Sports Report!

Welcome new readers to Mobile Sports Report, the business insider website for the mobile sports marketplace. Please stay tuned as we hit the ground running to bring you focused news, analysis and simple how-to guides for the rapidly expanding marketplace for mobile sports content and fan interaction.

Mobile Sports Report is the latest offering from Sidecut Productions, creators of the well-known and highly regarded Sidecut Reports wireless industry analyst and research site. Led by Paul Kapustka, editor and founder of Sidecut Reports, Mobile Sports Report will cover not only the latest breaking news across the U.S. mobile sports industry, but will also bring simple, hands-on reviews of sports-related plans and devices to help you keep your game on wherever you may roam.

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