Like most sports fans these days, viagra I have a sports folder on my smartphone that keeps all of my sports apps nicely organized. When I need scores, sick news and schedules, medical I have plenty of options crammed into that itsy-bitsy folder: ESPN, CSN, FOX, Bleacher Report – you name it, I’ve probably got it in there somewhere.
As a working mother of toddler twins who rarely gets a chance to sit down until after 9pm most nights, I miss more live games than I care to admit. Usually, I’m catching the fourth quarter of the Bulls game or the third period of the Hawks, and it’s so rare that I’m not conquering multiple projects while watching the game: folding laundry, paying bills, updating this site, unloading the dishwasher…an uninterrupted viewing experience for me is as rare as a facial.
So, I heavily rely on my sports apps for my news and updates in lieu of live game entertainment. Considering how relatively tech-savvy I consider myself to be as a sports fan, you can imagine how silly I felt when I heard that the Chicago Bulls were the latest team to officially launch their own mobile app.
Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to the AT&T Flagship store on Michigan Avenue for an official Bulls Digital Watch Party party hosted by the Bulls and AT&T, the presenting sponsor of the team’s new app and the exclusive communications sponsor of the United Center. Along with a hundred or so lucky fans, I enjoyed a VIP viewing experience as the beautiful store was transformed into a Bulls viewing party for their matchup that evening with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Bulls legend Toni Kukoc was onsite, looking fabulous, fit and tan as ever, as were the Luvabulls, Benny the Bull and members of the Bulls marketing teams.
For those of you that have not stepped foot into AT&T’s gorgeous and massive Flagship location on the Mag Mile, whether you are in the market for a new phone or not, this place is worth checking out. Designed to bring lifestyle and tech together, the space is modern yet incredibly inviting with products and accessories displayed beautifully across the open space that is lined with the latest mobile products, devices and interactive displays.
Chic couches and cozy meeting spaces line the glass windows that face Ontario and a white lacquered bar with groovy seating invites customers to ask questions and troubleshoot similar to the Genius Bar at Apple.
Immediately upon entering your eye is drawn to the back of the store where colorful floor to ceiling displays offer a glimpse of the latest designer phone accessories available for purchase. Currently on display is the colorful and playful designer French Bull. I immediately snagged one of these snazzy covers for my new iPhone.
Local Chicago designers are featured on the monitors that line the back of the store and I was told that just recently even Common had designed phone accessories that were sold within the store, with proceeds benefitting Common’s charity, the Common Ground Foundation.
I had the opportunity to chat one-on-one with Jeremy Thum, the Director of Interactive Marketing and the lead behind the Bulls new app. After downloading the app to my phone, Jeremy walked me through the features. In addition to normal features of a sports app: scores, trending news stories, player and team stats, standings, and team schedule, etc., there are a few other cool bells and whistles that I particularly found interesting.
For those of us that are visual learners, the app features box score graphics and stats that require very little brain power (which is always good when multi-tasking during game time). Colors and bars show which team is leading in each category. The shot map is probably my favorite, indicating each specific place on the court a shot was taken by each player.
The social media tab gives you direct access to all of the Bulls social media channels including their growing Instagram account. Other features include live-streaming of the Bulls pre-game show. You can even buy tickets for upcoming games through your phone and study a virtual map of the United Center from the comfort of your own couch or seat at the UC. I found this feature particularly cool and handy. Gone are the days where you wander the halls of the UC looking for healthy food options or the bar that serves imports.
In addition to opening the incredible Flagship store on the Mag Mile, A&T has made other noteworthy strides in the market over the last year. Not only is the wireless carrier been awarded as the fastest network in Chicago, according to Root Metrics, but the company also gave fans a much-needed boost in cell service at the United Center by joining the arena’s new 4G LTE-capable Distributed Antenna System (DAS) to enhance the fan experience. This new (DAS) system, combined with the United Center’s enhanced Wi-Fi and free downloadable United Center app, provides Bulls and Blackhawks fans in attendance with live game action camera feeds, historical and current game highlights, statistics, and much more content for smartphones or tablets at all home games.
But wait, there’s more. A trip to the new AT&T Sports Zone, located in the concourse near section 114 at the United Center, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy during halftime and before tipoff. Fans can explore how to personalize their playlist with Beats Music on the new LG Flex and enjoy the latest music and game footage with Beats headphones. Fans can also stay up to date with the NBA Play of the Week plus view live and exclusive content on the U-verse app.
Clearly, the race is on in Chicago, and I’m not just talking about the running of the Bulls. As AT&T fights for market share in a city that has traditionally been dominated by Verizon, and teams compete with national and regional sports nets for your time and interest, it’s the sports fans that are the real winners. Never before have we had so many options for great content and memorable fan experiences, right at our fingertips.
Thankfully, the Bulls (and the Blackhawks) are both heading back to the the Playoffs for the fourth consecutive year in a row, leaving fans hungry for as much content as they can get their hands on. We are truly blessed as fans with great basketball and hockey in our city, which is the greatest perk any fan could ask for. Because no matter how sexy your app is, or how much content a team can pump out, without wins and playoff appearances, it’s just another app sitting in your folder.