I can safely say that the worst part of going to an NFL game — even worse than drunken meatheads sitting behind you — is the constant television timeouts. Injuries, possession changes, coaches’ challenges. They all result in awkward pauses in the action that for a fan inside the stadium — in these ever twitchy digital times — can feel like an eternity.
The NFL knows that, and also knows that if you’re going to shell out $3,000 for one Super Bowl ticket, you want to be entertained. All. Game. Long.
That mindset helps to explain a few of the features included in the NFL’s in-stadium Super Bowl app, which hit the App Store and Google Play this week.
In addition to things like express food and merchandise ordering, the app has two interesting features: You can use it to watch Super Bowl commercials right after they air on live TV and you can watch instant replays immediately after they happen on the field, from four different camera angles.
“We’re still trying to entertain the fan during some of these commercial breaks,” said Jazz Singh, a product manager in charge of the NFL’s mobile properties. “We’re trying to fill in those gaps. For the large part, [the Super Bowl] is a social event, so you’re going to see people watching in the concourses and chatting, but there are those gaps that we want to fill in with both an entertaining and functional [app].”
Even though the app is brand new, these features aren’t unheard of. The commercials, for example, were in last year’s Super Bowl app, and the replay system is part of the existing Levi’s Stadium app. Which raises the question: Why build a new app at all if these features were already part of existing apps?
Answer: Branding, baby!
“It’s very similar to the Levi’s Stadium app in terms of using the same back-end infrastructure,” explained VenueNext CEO John Paul, whose company is building the app. “But [the NFL] wanted more control over the [user interface] and its look and feel to make sure it matched all the Super Bowl branding they were doing.”
The NFL takes over everything for the Super Bowl. It resells all the in-stadium advertising. It sells all the seats and luxury boxes. And in this case, it even rebrands the in-stadium app.
“The Super Bowl is a different game,” explained Singh.
That’s not an issue for VenueNext, though, which is building an entire business around these stadium and arena app experiences. The company has taken funding from investors like the San Francisco 49ers and Twitter.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.