If you don't know yet, the Orlando Magic last week unveiled its team-specific mobile application for phones and tablets. It doesn't cost a penny and you can download it now on Apple iTunes and for your Google Androids. Over the past few days, I've been able to utilize the app and thoroughly scroll through it with my iPhone 4S. If you're making fun of the fact I don't have the most updated Apple product, feel free to buy me a new one.
Anyway, I've put together a list of 10 things that I found outstanding with this mobile app.
1. Duh! It’s Specifically for the Magic!
No more weeding through generic sports apps that suck (ESPN ruined ScoreCenter) to get your Magic news and scores. It's one finger tap instead of half a dozen to figure out news, scores, stats, schedule info, videos, view team game photos, listen to Magic DriveTime radio recordings, and more. For those who are not in a wifi spot, that makes a dramatic access difference. I can actually depend on a Game Tracker that's accurate and that I don't have to question if I'm not following a Magic game.
2. Quick Access to Magic Twitter Feed
Twitter runs the world now - or at least the social media aspect of it. You can immediately view the Magic’s feed update for new tweets and news stories from team writers like John Denton. The next step? Adding more media members that cover the team. That’s not going to happen though because they’re not employed by the Magic organization, and thus display harsh critiques from time to time. I’m more than guilty of this because I always demand more from Orlando coaches and players. A man can dream though.
You can hunt down the Magic's official Facebook and Instagram accounts via the 'Social Media' tab.
3. Shot Charts!!!
And detailed ones at that. It’s basketball porn for guys like me who want to always prove that Glen Davis needs to shoot less jumpers. You can check out the entire Magic team's shot chart for the game or break it down by quarter(s). You can view each player's shot chart and develop your own opinion about where he should be launching field goal attempts from. Same goes for opponents and their players. The Heat Map is fantastic. I would rename it though to 'Hot Map' or something that doesn't remind us of a certain NBA franchise further south of O-Town.
4. It’s Visually Appealing
That’s literally 50% of the battle when you’re trying to put together a successful app. Functionality can only take you so far if your app is an eye sore, which this isn't. It also helps when the Magic’s team colors are awesome and web creator friendly. The utilization of game flow charts and bar graphs seems like it's simple, but the crispness for how it's been executed really deserves a lot of applause. Don't screw with it, ever.
5. YouTube Videos with No Ads
For clarification, please keep watching my YouTube clips of Magic player and coach interviews. That’s how I get paid for my blogging services. If you can click a blog article or YouTube advertisement then that’s even better.
The Magic though don’t generate enough views for their videos to constantly bombard us with 15-second ads for KIA, Marriott, and CenturyLink. So the subtle addition of ad-less YouTube clip versions of their production footage that can be accessed via the mobile app is a plus.
6. Player Profiles
Eventually, I'm expecting the additions of college and nationality backgrounds, as well as random factoids like how Andrew Nicholson loves to eat ox tail to be listed to give the players some added profile personality. For now, sticking with a player's regular season and playoff statistics, having their profile pic, and also being able to view the roster by jersey numerical order (for the less savvy fan) is a fine start.
7. Message Board Access
I don't utilize the Magic message boards, but clearly a lot of fans do if you just take a peek at their web traffic. Now you don't have to be in front of a bulky computer, or open a Safari page to access the team's official message forum. It's just another tiny thing that really goes a long way in making team-following life easier on your fan base.
8. Being Able to Tweak Your Settings
Is the text too small for you to read what's on your phone? Enlarge it. Do you want news notifications, as well as the final score, but not the quarterly score notifications? No problem. We live in a society that feels special when you can customize anything and everything. This again is a small part of the app that pleases your fans. Also, because of these notifications, I believe fans no longer need to use the Magic's texting service.
9. Buying Tickets
Ticketmaster can be a frustrating beast to deal with at times, but the Magic app makes purchasing a ticket rather smooth. You can buy tickets for road and home contests. The various types of ticket packages and promotions seem to be up-to-date. The 'Best Available' filter as well as the various price filters do work properly. Most importantly, it's easy to view the Amway Center (or any NBA arena's) seat map if you have a preference for where you want to watch the game action. It's easy to navigate back and forward. You can log in with your Ticketmaster profile, and your choice of payment is simple enough to input.
10. NBA Standings
NBA.com is on the mountain top as far as having the most appealing format for displaying all 30 teams' win-loss records. The Magic app has stuck to that format, something other major sports sites and apps need to adopt. You can see how many games back in the division and conference you are, see division and conference records, see how a team has done over its last 10 games played, and find out who is on a lengthy win or losing streak. I'm not 'reaching' here, this is an important part of the Magic app.
I do have one gripe. If you're a shopaholic, this app may not be appropriate for your rehab in regards to viewing the Orlando Magic Team Shop. My can you view a plethora of Orlando gear and novelty items. However, the mobile app hasn't made the team shop mobile friendly. It still opens up as if you're viewing the site on an internet browser. Hopefully that changes soon.
Overall though, the Orlando Magic deserve to be commended for an outstanding FREE mobile app.