If you look in your mobile platform’s app store, there are quite a few sports apps which turn your smartphone or tablet in to a scoreboard or leaderboard for your favourite sporting events. Some of the scoreboard apps allow you to monitor a particular team’s games, view league ladders or see on-demand video of game highlights. Examples of these include the ScoreMobile apps; and the “Footy Now” / “League Now” apps for the AFL and NRL football leagues respectively; all of which are available on most of the main mobile platforms like iOS and Android.
Most of these apps are free or advertiser-funded and are written in conjunction with companies and other interests associated with the particular leagues or codes that these apps work with As well, they work via whatever Internet connection your device is using at the moment, whether it’s the Wi-Fi home network, the Wi-Fi hotspot at your favourite bar or the wireless broadband service that you device is associated with. But are they a useful download for your phone or tablet?
I would say that they provide a useful role for any sports followers, whether they watch the game on TV at home or their favourite bar or cafe; or go to the stadium to watch the game.
One key use for people who watch the game in a public place such as the stadium, a large outdoor screen in a square or a packed-out bar, is to have a “handheld scoreboard” that they can glance at Here, they may not see the scoreboard easily due to them being in the wrong seating position or being further back from the venue’s TV screen.
At home, you could be outside listening to the radio commentary on that small portable radio yet be able to check the scores at a glance. This may then be useful for knowing whether to head inside to see the action on TV and can be a boon when there is confusion in the commentary which can happen with some plays. Two best examples of such a confusing situation is a batsman hitting a run but being caught or run out in cricket or a scoring event (try, goal or touchdown) in a game of rugby, Australian Rules or American football which can be escalated to a higher scoring play.
For Australian readers, this could extend to you having a tablet computer showing the scores for the AFL or NRL Grand Final near the barbecue while you are cooking the meat for the Grand Final lunch.
Another benefit that these apps provide when it comes to upcoming sport fixtures is the way the time for that fixture is conveyed. These apps show the time that the game or race is expected to actually start with it represented in your local time zone. It can be important when you watch the event on TV so that you are sure you have switched over to the right channel especially if you are avoiding the preliminary events or commentary before that fixture. Or it could be to make sure you are at the location you want to watch it at in time for the start if you are visiting the venue, a favourite “watering-hole” or your friend’s place where they have the big TV.
These apps would also appeal to travellers and expats who like to follow their favourite matches while they are travelling. An example of this was a friend I know who had used one of these apps on his iPhone to follow a baseball game that was taking place in the US while he was over here in Australia. Similarly a Manchester United fan could follow that soccer team’s performance anywhere around the world even if there isn’t a TV broadcast of the games where they are.
For these apps to work properly, they need to have proper support for push notification but without placing too much strain on the device’s battery runtime. As well, these apps need to be able to work in a manner that doesn’t take over the processor power of these devices when they are just showing scores. As well, the data backend has to be synchronous to the scoreboard at the actual game in the same manner as what is expected for the TV scoreboard – a football goal appears on the mobile scoreboard app as soon as the pitch umpire declares that goal.
So whether you are an avid sports follower or just casually watch some sporting events like football finals or Grand-Prix car races, the mobile scoreboard apps do have a place on the smartphone and tablet devices.