Navy football is off to a 4-0 start in 2017, and people are taking notice — 30,420 fans attended the Midshipmen’s home opener against Tulane and 33,134 came to their home game against Cincinnati two weeks later. Those numbers are likely to be eclipsed when service academy rival Air Force visits Annapolis on Saturday.
It’s a good time to be a Navy fan, and fans have more ways than ever to follow the academy’s sports teams, especially on their phones.
“We hope to kind of go above and beyond and provide a whole new level of engagement with our fans”
The athletics department released a fully redesigned Navy Sports smartphone app in September, and hopes it will serve as a “wayfinder” for fans visiting Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on game days.
On top of its previous features, the app now will recognize if a user has his or her phone’s location services turned on while at a football game. The app can send push notifications that it’s almost time for the Brigade of Midshipmen “march-on” or the Navy jet flyover, for example. If a fan needs to find a shorter concession stand line, the app can map out where the options are.
“Your experience tomorrow in the stadium will be very different in the app than someone who’s in San Diego or overseas looking at the app,” said Kevin Dwan, Navy’s associate athletic director for sales and external operations.
This was an important project for the athletic department and its partner, app development company Hopscotch, Dwan said.
“It’s just another way to engage with our fans. It’s another way to provide information for them, content for them and also to get feedback and see what they’re interested in,” he said.
The Navy Sports app previously pulled a lot of information from the athletics website, including team rosters, schedules and news articles. Those features are still available, and people who previously had the app don’t need to download it again.
App users now can customize it to show them content for their favorite sports across all 30 of Navy’s NCAA Division I varsity teams. Fans can also buy Navy tickets, gear and merchandise through the app, and Dwan said there are plans in the near future to install a points-based “rewards” program for loyal fans.
“We hope to kind of go above and beyond and provide a whole new level of engagement with our fans,” Dwan said. The app is beginning to become popular among fans, but it’s only spreading as fast as word of mouth. Brian McConaty, of Bowie, was one of several fans watching college football games Sept. 30 on the televisions at Langway’s All American Sports Bar in Gambrills. That included Navy’s game at Tulsa, which they went on to win 31-21.
McConaty described himself as a fan of Navy football and all Maryland-based sports. After learning about the Navy app, McConaty said he would download it for his phone.