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Eight iPhone apps that are changing how we watch, enjoy sports

by Brad Spirrison

Technological innovation in the sporting arena often comes in small packages. The iPhone is a mobile entertainment center and computer that is forever changing how we consume sports. These eight iPhone apps not only impact how we watch the games, but also how we interact with and obsess over the athletes who play them. 

Watching games on the go 

MLB.com At Bat The 2009 version of this home run application provided a virtual box seat to every Major League Baseball game on the schedule. For the price of a beer or two at the ballpark ($9.99), subscribers to MLB TV who own this app enjoyed live video access to every game as well as a "Condensed Games" feature that showed the payoff pitch of every at bat. The "Quad View" element introduced just before the playoffs enabled fans to watch four vantage points of a game simultaneously. During the offseason, the (currently free) app features hot stove news and highlights. Expect more out of the park innovations come 2010. 

NBA Game Time 2009-10 While only an extra base hit compared to the MLB app, NBA Game Time 2009-10 has the potential to be fantastic. While the $9.99 app includes radio feeds, live scoring and game recaps, there is no live video yet. Expect more features as the season progresses. Like the league itself, there is no urgency to devote full attention here until we get closer to the playoffs. 

NFL SuperFan The world has never been the same since DIRECTV made it possible (and legal) to view every National Football League game from the comfort of our own homes. Now NFL Sunday Ticket Subscribers can carry every game on their iPhones with the free NFL SuperFan application. The app also delivers access to The Red Zone Channel and provides real-time team and player statistics at the touch of a screen. 

Following players and teams 

OchoCinco Experience If you somehow feel deprived about not getting enough news about Chad Ochocinco, you can now track the whereabouts, favorite songs and sound bites (in english and spanish!) of the flamboyant Cincinnati Bengals receiver with the OchoCinco Experience. While the $2.99 iPhone application (currently free through Decemeber 31) could not be more self-serving, it is also a pioneer in how pro athletes use mobile media to interact with fans with features like "What would Ochocinco Do?". 

NFL Pro Tweets Brought to you by the NFL Players Association, NFL Pro Tweets publishes micro blogs from every NFL player signed up on Twitter. While there is nothing technologically earth-shattering about this free application, it does put pro athletes directly in touch with their fans without the filter of sports columnists or talk radio banter. 

MyMadrid A fan application produced by the Real Madrid soccer team, this $2.99 gem delivers a wealth of sanctioned videos, live scoring and player information not found on independently developed apps. MyMadrid is setting the bar for applications developed by professional sports franchises and shoots right past the lackluster Cowboys 09  ($3.99) in terms of production quality. 

Catering to our obsessions 

FanGraphs Baseball This $2.99 app takes keeping score at the ballpark to a whole other level. FanGraphs Baseball is for that sabermetrician in all of us who like to have access to things like win expectancy, leverage index and win probability at our fingertips. The one thing it doesn't do is predict when the Cubs will finally win the World Series. You don't need an app for that.  

Sports Radio While the concept of sports talk radio is rather low tech, having live access to scores of local, national and international stations across the world is revolutionary. The $1.99 application is great for learning about what is being said about your team in other cities, or if you want the skinny on that cricket match taking place on the other side of the globe.