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Chicago Fire makes apps a priority with Android launch

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The Chicago Fire Android app

Major League Soccer team Chicago Fire is significantly ramping up its mobile presence with an Android application that lets fans keep tabs on their favorite sports team.

The Chicago Fire app is available for free download from Google Play with an iPhone version slated for a mid-September launch. The app is powered by Cricket Wireless.

The launch of the two apps came down to timing we launched the Android app around our home match against the New England Revolution, said Brendan Hannan, director of communications at Chicago Fire Soccer Club, Bridgeview, IL.

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The iPhone app will launch on Sept. 15 when the Fire take on the Montreal Impact at Toyota Park, he said. The dual launch allows for the club to promote and grow awareness around the app and then encourage app downloads on two separate game days.

Mobile fans
The Chicago Fire Android app lets sports fans browse team merchandise and buy tickets for upcoming matches.

The app works with Ticketmaster to let consumers buy tickets. After a consumer orders, they either be emailed to the user or picked up at will call in the stadium.

The app is meant to connect with sports fans both inside and outside of the arena.

For instance, consumers can access current news about the team with links to articles. The app also includes information on individual players with photos and statistics. Users can also upload their own team pictures.


The Chicago Fire Android app

The app contains a map feature of the teams venue Toyota Park where consumers can type in their location to find things that are nearby to them.

Season ticket holders can also see graphs and charts that show how many games they have been to.

Social media buttons to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are prominently promoted across the bottom of the screen. This helps the team build a closer, one-on-one relationship with consumers as well as bolster social media impressions.

Past initiatives
Chicago Fire also uses an SMS program to connect with sports fans.

The soccer team uses polls, alerts, special offers and text-to win promotions to interact with sports fans at games.

Last year, the team ramped up its database efforts by running two promotions during games (see story).

By using a combination of SMS and mobile apps, the Chicago Fire is aiming to reach a wide group of both smartphone and feature phone users.

For sports teams specifically, mobile is a key way to both connect with fans in real time during a game both inside and outside of the stadium.

Additionally, by making the app commerce-enabled, the sports team can drive ticket sales.

The engaging mobile application enables fans to create their own connection to Fire players, our partners and our Club, Mr. Hannan said.

Mobile is a big part of the clubs marketing, digital and communications efforts, he said.

Engaging Fire supporters in the mobile space is key as the club looks to provide in-depth and up-to-the-minute information regarding the team and its fans.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York