It’s offical – the Buffalo Sabres organization has released a Buffalo Sabres app available for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry users. What’s better than a Buffalo Sabres app for multiple platforms? A free Buffalo Sabres app for multiple platforms.
My review is based on an iPhone 4, without any modifications. Philip at Black & Blue & Gold wrote up a fantastic, detailed review regarding the app last night after the game. He based his review on his use with an HTC Evo 4G running CyanogenMod 7.1.0, which is a variant of Android 2.3.7.
According to the offical release from the Sabres website, the app includes ten different sections with multiple functions including a live in-game section, media section, plus the ability to purchase tickets.
As an iPhone user, I immediately downloaded the app and allowed for push notifications even though I realize I might be more up-to-date by the time I actually receive the notifications. The opening screen displayed last night’s match-up (prior to the game), similar to what you would see on the side of the Sabres official website. Today, now that the game has passed, highlights and media are shown on the home screen.
From the “Live In-Game” screen, you can quickly accessthe previous game (or current game, if the Sabres play that night) This includes key matchups, what to watch, and a history between the teams. During the game, it updates the box score, game stats, and everything you’d expect to see from the Sabres website.
On the very bottom of every screen is the menu. Once clicked, it expands from the bottom to show ten links. The other nine sections include Media, Player Info, Standings and Scores, First Niagara Center, Schedule, Tickets, Promotions, Fan Zone, and “More”. If you’re familiar with the official Sabres website, you’ll likely know what to expect beyond each menu item.
The “Promotions” tab was something a bit unfamiliar to me, as I’m not sure how readily available that information is on the website. It displays the different promotional events going on, which are broken down into tickets, stores, food, and specials. Currently under tickets are Party Bundles, Family Packs, and Student Surge. Under stores, a link to save 20% on any Ryan Miller or Nathan Gerbe merchandise from the Sabres Store is shown. Food and Specials does not currently have any promotions listed through the app.
The Fan Zone is also a nice touch, which is geared towards your phone instead of computer. It allows you to play your Sabres Power Line Up from your phone, listen to your favorite tunes (including the latest goal song, songs from the player’s iPods, and a “Heard at the Arena” section which hasn’t listed any tunes yet), download wallpaper for your phone, and quickly access the team’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. Under “More”, you’re able to set preferences (alerts), read about the app, submit feedback, and read the FAQ.
One of my favorite features is the First Niagara Center menu. There is an interactive map of the First Niagara Center which even designates where certain vendors are (finally!), and lists all sections. Also if you’re unsure of where to park, there is now an easy to read map of all lots in the area, including estimated parking prices. Last but not least are additional events to occur at First Niagara Center.
As Phil also states, there are few (and I mean very, very few) issues with the app – some of which are already being taken care of. One would be the connectivity through Facebook and Twitter, which doesn’t link properly if you attempt to post something from the app. However, per Kevin Snow of the Buffalo Sabres, this is one of the bugs already being addressed.
I personally had some difficulty attempting to navigate the ticket purchasing, but a couple attempts later everything resolved. It seems this would be purely on my end, not a result of the app itself. In that aspect, I wish there were an easy way for purchasing tickets through the app instead of being sent to the Tickets.com website. It is just personal preference, but I find that using the actual website on a phone is a hassle.
Phil did mention some problems reading the notifications during the game on his device, but I did not have any problems. It appears this is due to the difference in platforms and how notifications are displayed; iOS allows for more lengthy, detailed notifications which do not display the same on Android phones.
All in all, the app is a clean and simpler version of the Sabres website. I feel like we’ve been waiting years for this app to come out, but I am pleasently surprised with what it brings to the fanbase. It’s very functional, easy to navigate, and provides most information you could expect and want at your fingertips from an app. If you haven’t checked it out now, what are you waiting for?