From all-star to minor league: Where are the BlackBerry sports apps?

Sad Mr. Met
By Adam Zeis on 15 Mar 2012 12:35 pm EDT
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We used to have MLB.com At Bat, NHL Game Center, NFL Mobile and more ... but where are all the BlackBerry sports apps now? BlackBerry users are sports fans too!

Hi. My name is Adam and I'm a BlackBerry user and a sports fan. What's that? Those two can't go together? Sure they can, but I guess you wouldn't know it after a stroll through BlackBerry App World. You see, until this year (for the most part), major sports leagues seemed to have no problem pushing out their apps for BlackBerry users. Sure, our apps were at times slimmed down compared to their iOS and Android counterparts, but at least we had something. 2012 brings in yet another year for baseball, basketball, football, hockey ... you get the picture ... but where are the BlackBerry apps?

If you run through iTunes or Google Play, you can easily find MLB.com at Bat, NHL Gamecenter, NBA Game Time and plenty more apps from the major sports leagues. You can easily seek out an app for pretty much any sport of which you're a fan and there are plenty from which to choose. Why aren't any of these apps available on BlackBerry? Your guess is as good as mine.

A search of BlackBerry App World for "MLB" doesn't net you the MLB.com At Bat app (since it's nonexistent for 2012) but yet you'll find the 3-year old MLB.com launcher as well as a launcher for every MLB team. Pretty much the same thing I had on my Curve 8330 nearly 4 years ago. It's almost insulting at this point as any somewhat educated BlackBerry user already knows how to make a homescreen shortcut from a web address, so downloading a launcher is just plain dumb. Where is my our beloved MLB.com At Bat app for BlackBerry? I understand it was $14.99, but I (as well as many others) never hesitated when it came to dropping $15 for season-long access to everything I needed on my BlackBerry. I sat an waited this year for the 2012 version to hit the shelves, but to my dismay, there was nothing available for BlackBerry. Word on the street is that it's coming soon, but who know if anything will come of that. Pfft to you MLB.

MLB BlackBerry App World

Want an NHL app? You're flat out of luck there too. If you search "NHL" in BlackBerry App World, you don't even get a tease of apps, you just get the NHLPA Player Tracker. Unless you're reallllly into hockey, this app isn't going to work for the average fan. Up until this year we've at least had the NHL Game Center app which was pretty awesome. Sure it was $19.99, but if you wanted your hockey on your BlackBerry it was a no brainer. The kicker? BlackBerry is an NHL sponsor! They were all over the Stanley cup coverage last year, but we can't have an app?? When I think of Canada I think of two things - BlackBerry and Hockey (okay, and maybe Poutine) .. and no NHL app?

NHL BlackBerry App World

Football fan? (Go Giants!). If you search "NFL" in BlackBerry App World you'll get a ton of results, most of which are garbage. The top hit is NFL 11 - a halfway decent app for NFL fans. While the app has a good amount of information, it's still very lacking feature wise. Again, it's iOS and Android counterparts are choc-full of everything you could want, but here we get the shaft. The NFL gets a pass for actually having an app however. Will we see one in 2012? Doubtful.

NFL BlackBerry App World

The list goes on -- pick a sport, search for an app, odds are you won't find it. Our best (and pretty much only) option is ScoreMobile. Props to the team there for actually keeping the BlackBerry app up to date so we can at least follow our scores and standings. ESPN Mobile? Sky Sports? You won't find those either. So what's my point? I'd just like to let the world know (I'm looking at you major sports leagues) that the millions of BlackBerry users across the globe are sports fans too. You had no problem dishing out your apps in the past, so what's the story now? I won't be switching platforms just to get my sports apps, but I will resent you all for quite a while.

Check out these threads in the CrackBerry forums for more:

MLB At Bat 12...Will Blackberry get it?
NHL GameCenter 2011?
NBA Game Time Live for Blackberry?

Reader comments

From all-star to minor league: Where are the BlackBerry sports apps?

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ScoreMobile is still available, but I believe this post is specifically regarding league specific apps, like MLB, NBA, NFL, etc.

I have definitely sent angry emails to the NBA mobile team asking for a League Pass app. I would gladly pay the League Pass subscription if I could watch it from my phone (or better, PlayBook), so they're missing out on $100 from me alone.

I check almost daily for the MLB At Bat app. I buy it every year, and for a company based in Canada I have no idea where the NHL App is...isn't BlackBerry a big sponsor of the NHL as well...hum...there is something wrong with this, at least I can access all the flash and videos from NHL.com with my PlayBook.

It isn't just BB missing out here though, Windows Phones are left high and dry too.

"You had no problem dishing out your apps in the past, so what's the story now?"

The story is BlackBerry apps aren't nearly as lucrative as the more popular iOS and Android.

They are plenty lucrative on gross sales. The loss comes from support. Customer Service support for BB software is supposedly a nightmare. Since RIM refuses to lend their personel and resources to the support side, noone wants to touch them anymore. The atbat 2012 is a greaty example. The app was finished more than a month ago. It's tested fine on OS7/7.1 devices. Its ready to go. It won't be released. Blame RIM.

What's mysterious is that the NBA advertises BlackBerry products A LOT. I don't get why they can't come out with a decent NBA app.

BB is a huge NBA sponsor too. I was at the Knick game last night and dozens of advertising for BB and Bold.

We could petition the NBA or MLB - but the truth is their developers don't want to support BB anymore and RIM has done nothing to incentivize the undertaking. MLB Is almost certainly not coming to BB this year. It always releases during spring training. The apps are developed for BB and work for BB already, they are not released because RIM will not give MLB (actually their devlopers) technical support personel and other resources necessary to prop up the application.

This is entirely on RIM. RIM can not get their own Theme Studio released on their own devices and you want a major developer to undertake support? RIM can't get an integrated mapping/navigation program on their own devices and you want MLB to support us?

Skyfire, Garmin, EA, NHL, NBA and now MLB have all pulled support. Countless others have just never came on-board with the BB OS. What does that tell you? It tells you that $13 a share for RIM is about right - for now.

You said it right. I'm sick of petitions this is on RIM. Get it done RIM or BBM just won't be enough anymore.

I's also add RIM arrogance. They should make it as easy as pie to port Android apps, but they want CONTROL they want hoop jumping to App World and it devalues their own products.

Step 1 BB10 really run android apps - no lack of apps.
Step 2 Advertise the hell out of BB10
Step 3 Sell BB10 at a low price (relative to iPhone - no RIM you can't price it the same as iPhone, PlayBook hopefully taught you that lesson).
Result: decent sales and then developers will come to take advantage of cascades because there will be a userbase.

Maybe it is because BB can't handle apps. I hate to say it because I am huge fan of BB but I feel even my 9900 lags when you install (basic) apps. So I figure if a publisher pushes out a rich app and it misbehaves because of the device it may be perceived by the end-user as an app issue rather than a BB issue if you see what I mean. Hence, better not to release than get blamed for a poor experience.

Exactly! And this is made much worse by the fragmentation of OS4.7 through OS 7.1. And the dozens of various carrier updates at each platform level. It's a BIG HOT MESS.

Every single team in every sport has an official websight, then there are countless sport specific sites, then there are multi-sport sites. What can;t you find?

RIM gave them the inside edge for BB10 devices and they are focusing there efforts there. Unfortunately you will be forced to upgrade to a BB10 device.

There is nothing factual about my post.

Got to go along with you there.
Hey, Adam,
We have a CFL app -that trumps the NFL! But I smell what you are cooking.
Gotta go along with my friend here -it's all about BBX.
By the way, to some of the others : apps load and display well on the PlayBook.
Peace

It's a conspiracy! Apple and Android own stock in all of the above for mentioned and are trying to stick it to us anyway they can. Trying to force us to by their hardware and opress the BlackBerry Nation even further. They have probably teamed against us in hopes to squash the berry before OS 10 arrives when we shall once and for all arise from the depths and quell the critics and there brainwashed ways. So to the NHL, the NFL,and MLB I say beware the Berrians . LOL!!!

I'm just fed up with the BS.

I can't speak to the NFL and NHL (although I do know that internally the NHL is in the process of moving away from BB enterprise in favour of iOS), but MLB has always embraced and been at the forefront of mobile technology. I know for a fact that they are anti-BlackBerry as they feel that they have not kept up with the technology, and for that will not support them.

No conspiracy, just reputation. RIM has a long way to go to get the stigma off its back.

App worked fine last year even after BB 7 came out. No reason the basic app at least wouldn't work on the phones. Furthermore on a Playbook if you go to the website and pick to view a game you get the "blackberry device not supported" message HOWEVER if you download simplebrowser and set it to IE or Firefox settings to basically hide the fact you are on a Playbook then you can watch the game with no problem. So the BB can't handle it theories hold no water. To add insult to injury you could watch the app release video on Playbook browser and game highlights as well but they block actual games...strange indeed.

I think current phones simply can't offer what MLB, NFL or NHL want in an app. QNX can but its still not here and given the uncertainly around RIM, the leagues likely don't want to take a chance yet.

At the end of the day RIM needs to get BB10 phones out yesterday and get them selling so that developers and leagues see the need to create an app. Until then, I think Blackberry gets bubkas!

They probably look at their websites, determine which cell phones use the mobile site most often and notice virtually ZERO hits from Blackberries and therefore dont issue apps for BBs. As per CrackBerry article last week this is #%(@'d up

BlackBerry doesn't get any respect from the app makers it seems, not just sports, which is a shame and is not good business, they are really missing the boat on a lot of things.

let me begin by saying, first of all i dont give a shit about professional sports. there is no reason we should be paying athletes millions of $ while teachers are making pennies and our nation's education levels continue to plummet. pro sports are some of the best methods for distracting ignorant americans from issues that matter (such as the war) but that is beside the point.

as for why BB has no applications for sports? well im gonna go out on a limb and say its probably because the US market doesnt want blackerries (outside of the crackberry commnunity). therefore the management teams in charge of funding the development of these applications most likely made the financially wise choice of ditching the dying blackberry platform and dedicating funds to android/ios where there is an enormous customer base and not nearly the hardware and software limitations RIM is known for.

since i dont care for sports, i wouldnt download these apps to begin with, but if i did ill tell you now id much rather use them on a screen like my iphones or larger, and would not wanna see all that info crammed onto my 9930s screen. (to some the small screen wouldnt be an issue, but for 90% of people used to a 3.5in+ screen, it is an issue.)

i know ill be flamed for this post cuz im on a BB fanboy site, but you guys know i have a point, regardless.

Teachers start off earning above 40k a year working full time, and in 10 years make it to 92k. That is excellent pay, especially considering they get a long Christmas break, Easter Monday, march break and the summer off. Our educational system doesn't need more money pumped into it. It needs "not idiots" to lead.

it is 9:15pm right now, and as I goof around on Crackberry, my girlfriend (a teacher) has been grading papers nonstop since getting home at 5pm.
She does this EVERY DAY except Saturday.
It is one of the only jobs on the planet that is full tilt, nonstop "on" until closing time.
No phone calls, no texting, very few bathroom visits... and just a sitting target for angry parents and insanely poorly raised kids.

I sure would like to know what world you are living in. I've been teaching for 10 years; in those 10 years my salary has been frozen 5 of those years and will be again this coming year. I make less than 48k a year my friend and that is with doing extra pay for athletics and tutoring. In addition, it cost me 17k to get my Master's degree a few years ago.
I sure wish I was making 90k like you seem to think.

As for sports apps and app development, Adam did agreat job; the squeakywheel gets the grease. Other phone users may be sheep,but tbey have big mouths (as evidenced by all the trolls on our website).

We are all just as guilty as RIM for not standing up and demanding our apps as developers slowly migrated away. Thankfully, it is not too late. BB users are more intelligent than sheep.

N4BB.com is reporting the app is coming soon.

Here is the Quote from the site

Dear Niko Giannopoulos,
Thank you for taking the time to write to us.

We are pleased to inform you that the AtBat application is also going to be available on Blackberry devices. To keep yourself posted, please periodically visit our linkhttp://www.mlb.com/devices. Because informations regarding such, will be posted in there.

Again thank you for contacting us.

Sincerely,
MLB.com

NHL said same thing last year never came. It's a corporate strategy to keep people quiet until they go away.

Remember in 2010 when RIM and Adobe said flash was coming to blackberry? People have short memories and shorter attention spans.

Need these apps on the PlayBook so I can stream live games! Could cut out a $100 cable bill if I could get these subscriptions on my PB! The cost to subscribe to each of these season-long services is barely a few months worth of cable tv here in Canada... need these apps!!

I'm a huge Yankee fan and the last 2 season, I've bought the At Bat app. Even though it didn't get live video like the iOS and Android apps, I used it religiously. I was so looking forward to getting it this season and am highly disappointed that there is no BB version. I hope that the rumors are true and we do see one.

This is one great post Adam! Although scoremobile is pretty much flawless it would be nice to have some other options.

Yeah the whole sports thing sucks for BB, Sprint had this whole NBA thing going on that you could download their free NBA app and watch games and the like, but in fine print "for android phones" I think the rep I spoke to wanted to leave after about 30 seconds, because being a Laker fan I don't always get to see their games here in Dallas, but not being able to get an app because I didn't have the right phone for their purposes peeved me to the max and they said there was no future for it on BB.
Adam start a petition or something to get these apps coming, because MLB has started their spring training and I can't imagine having to log onto ESPN just to get info on my team (BRAVES)
RIM needs to up the ante on apps, developers are asking for it and consumers want it, so whats the dilly-oooo!

There may be a lack of apps for the pro teams but if we have anything to say about it you will see more and more apps for other teams and leagues. Currently we produce native Blackberry apps for 17 teams in the CHL (WHL/OHL/QMJHL) with more on the way. We also have apps on the way for racetracks, the NLL (lacrosse), and other hockey leagues including the AHL and ECHL.

While we agree the Blackberry platform can be a challenge to work with since there is a format for all tastes and needs, we also see the benefit of producing apps for such a well established brand and fan base. Producing apps for Blackberry isn't as "sexy" as making them for iPhones or Androids but there is definitely a need for them and we think not supporting the Blackberry market is short sited.

Our company is Buzzer Apps Mobile Solutions and if you are a Blackberry sports fan, we'd appreciate your support! Tell your favourite team about us! www.buzzerapps.com

Any MLB sports fan here that like the Jays? Iv spend awaile trying to find an APP for the Toronto Blue Jays until i read this. So is there no independent apps out there for A sports team?

I know the Lefas have one.

Cheers Folks!

GOOD article, EXCELLENT question......where are all the sports apps. I know that BlackBerry caters to the business world, but we LOVE sports just like the next "jock"

There is a Great Hockey App for BlackBerry. The Hockey News (THN) App has been available for quite a long time.

If you're a hockey fan you should definitely download The Hockey News App!

BB 10 will fix all of that. I'd like to watch sports on my BlackBerry or PlayBook as well, but we all know BB 7 is just not the most developer friendly platform. It would be awesome if I could watch highlights of my favorite games on my PlayBook, there's always the browser option, but not the best.

F..O..O..T..B..A..L..L...... Oh, you're talking about that American thing, that you guys call "football", but practically never touch the ball with your feet! ;)

I get your point, especially concerning a Sky Sports app - both Sky Sports and Sky News have amazing iPad/iPhone apps - and I thank you for the article, Adam.

Si

and audio? video? that's right no.. Only the official NHL, NBA, MLB apps have live audio, video look ins, video replays, etc...

I understand your frustration as I am in the same boat. I am a huge sports fan as you can tell by my name. I do have the Score, CFL, and Lethbridge Hurricanes apps, but I would also like to see more sports related apps such as MLB, NBA, and NHL whether I would use them or not is a different. But at least they are available. Some of the team specific apps only support the full touchscreen devices, while others don't even support OS 7 case in point The Hockey News.

I love my Bold 9900 but things like this do really aggrevate me because I am trying to keep my chin up and support RIM.

I upgraded my phone to 7.1 and the P9981 theme is not even supported. Talk about frustrating.

I don;t think this is sports apps, it's just about any category of app you can think of. The reason is simple, no one buys Blackberries in the US anymore. And as the clock keeps ticking I think no one is going to by BB10 phones either.

Typical person that does BB stand for in BB10? Answer Blackberry. Typical person: Oh then I don't want that phone, thanks.

I heard a commercial during a pre-season White Sox game (MLB at Bat) coming on Apple phones and tablets, Android devices, Blackberry Devices, and now Windows 7 devices. Hope they are right. If they drop baseball why stay with RIM? No support or urgency when it comes to keeping up with apps like the big2

WRONG. It is not officially announced or released. NHL indicated a BB app would come too lat year. RIM did not give them the necessary support and the NHL app never came. The MLB at-bat app is ready to release, has been for some time. It will not release without RIM providing support. IE - Don't hold your breath..

Have to correct adam and the person who posted about sky sports and sky news apps. Both are on the Blackberry in the UK and both are really good and BBM connected apps. ESPN have a UK only app as well called ESPN Goals which shows you all the premier league goals within a couple of minutes of them being scored on your mobile. ESPN however are not launching their ESPN Soccernet app on blackberry despite it being released on Windows, Symbian, Android and IOS worldwide which is very annoying!

I mean really we know the reason why these apps are not on the BB. I have read post after post and we just hate to admit it. North America is lacking is BB demand. Hold your breath because none of this stuff is coming anytime soon. Android and IOS is what the market is in demand for. I like my bb its just no fun. If its RIM or the DEVS somebody knows whats going on. This customer base is loyal to the bb product with nothing in return. We pray for BB10 to be a splash and not the nail in the coffin. When bb10 is released it will be after the itoy5 and every other droid. People's view of what they want their smart to do is growing daily. They want the ecosystem and experience of ios and the productivity of a bb. With the PB and more touch screen BB's I think it is just making people comfy with typing on a screen. So if RIM is a product they no longer want then they can switch and feel comfy typing on a virtual keyboard. im trying to stay positive but things look grim to me and it makes me sad.

There is an NFL app, but it's only available with Verizon. Costs $10/month, which is a pretty good deal if you're a football fan and are ever away from a TV on Sundays.

Great post! We need sports apps! BlackBerry has been doing a lot of advertisement with the NBA so I really don't understand it. I'm a Knicks fan & the Knicks app that I had on my BB was discontinued about a month ago. Where are the major sports apps? All I really have/use are ScoreMobile & the Sports Illustrated app.