Major League Soccer‘s 2012 season kicked off this past weekend and one of the major highlights for their digital presence was the launch of a rebuilt MLS Matchday app for iPhone/iPad and Android. I think one of the league’s best decisions in recent years was to invest more staff and effort into its digital content. The league’s official site underwent a major overhaul last year and pumps out solid original content on a consistent basis. While it is impossible to compare the popularity of the Premier League and Major League Soccer, I would like to see more official league-generated content like the mobile app from the Premier League. As an American thirsty for soccer content and information, I would certainly download (and even pay) for an official Premier League iPhone app.
I downloaded the Matchday app for my iPhone and iPad over the weekend. All in all, I’m impressed with it. Here’s some screen shots and a brief review of the application.
Design & Navigation
First off, I love the look and feel of the app. It’s got a sleek, clean design and it’s very easy to navigate. Once you start the app, it takes you to a home screen which allows you select the club of your choice before moving to the club’s “homepage.”
The Scores page is very easy to read and makes it simple to find your desired match – click on the bar and you’ll be taken to the game center for the individual match where you can view stats, play-by-play and see video highlights.
Content & Features
Whether you’re viewing league news or team-specific news, it’s laid out in a newspaper style format similar to the popular Flipboard iPad app. You can read team news and updates on players, etc. The schedule button pops up a calendar format to find when the next game – clicking on that pops up a smaller window with time and television information.
On each team’s homepage, there’s a “Chants” tab which allows you the opportunity to hear a few of the fans’ most popular chants. Great idea!
With the number of television channels in the U.S. showing a variety of sports, the app also has a helpful “TV Info” page which shows which games are nationally televised each week and what channels are showing games.
One of my favorite features is the “Alerts” tool which allows you to select notifications on your device for breaking news as well as match notifications such as when the games start and end, goals, cards and substitutions.
There’s a lot of video content available for users in the Matchday app. Outside of the ability to watch live games with an MLS Live subscription, there’s a variety of free content to watch daily. The main video tab offers the ability to choose from a category of the league’s regular programming such as the MLS Review Show, Goal of the Week, Save of the Week and The Daily. If you select a club as one of your “favorites”, the video tab will sort by “Live” “Club-Specific” and “MLS Soccer.”
If you click within a specific game that’s already been played, you can view 15-20 bite-size highlights of the match – goals, saves, close shots, etc.
Needs Some Work
When you click on a team’s roster, it simply brings up a list of players with the number and position. Clicking on the name doesn’t take you anywhere or allow you get any information about the player. I’d like to see a bio with at least a headshot of the player and perhaps some career/season statistics.
Under the “Learn” tab, there’s an option to view a listing of all of the MLS stadiums. I think this is a great idea as it allows the league to showcase many of the newer venues that were built specifically for soccer and for MLS. However, the tab leaves a bit to be desired in the information department. While you can view the name of each team’s stadium with the year it opened, there’s not even a capacity number. There is one photo beside each venue, but most of them are just a shot of a crowd and doesn’t give you any clear picture of what the stadium looks like.
4/5 ★ ★ ★ ★