NFL Feeling the Heat: First the Refs, Now Their Mobile Strategy

An update to a mobile app should always be a good thing. That “Install Update” notification on your phone usually signifies that developers have added new fixes or features to make an app better – not worse. However, this wasn’t really the case for the NFL 12′ app.

When the NFL 12′ update released, the criticism began to flood in.  The updated app took some big steps backwards in terms of speed and cost. Zuri Berry of reviewed the updated app herself:

“I think everybody is done complaining about the NFL’s impasse with the referees now that there has been a labor resolution. The zebras returned for Thursday night’s football game, and harmony was restored on the playing field.

But not in cyberspace. The complaints are still streaming in from the NFL’s mobile app (iOS, Android)…

….Basically, if you want to check scores from games with NFL ’12, anticipate a 5-minute delay or more. In tests on Sunday on the iPad, the app was clearly behind its competitors (the ESPN ScoreCenter for one).

But what’s more, and what has really angered reviewers in Apple’s app store, is the charges to watch video content after it was free in the app’s previous incarnation. Now the NFL charges mobile users $1.99 a week or $9.99 a season to see highlights, its “Fantasy Live” show, or’s live look-in show for Thursday night football (not to be confused with any game action). This is completely separate from the “NFL Game Rewind” packages, which allow customers to watch full games a day after they air. There’s a separate app for that.”

Ironically, the app is available for free on your mobile browser. Having a free web app and a $1.99 native app just doesn’t seem to add up.

In addition, the speed issues the NFL is experiencing could be traced to a load issue or could be attributed to an actual bug. The only way to figure out what is causing the lag, is to put the app through some functional and load testing. Hopefully the NFL will be releasing an “update to the update” sooner than later – although, it will be hard to recover from all the App Store criticism.

Do you use the NFL 12’ app? Share your thoughts in the comments section.


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