Changing the way teams talk to their jocks

The Magic’s BB opening screen

Guess what hasn’t made it into the 21st century’s second decade? Professional sports internal communications. Yep, those athletes are all carrying the same smart devices that the rest of us use, but the norm for distributing logistics and scouting information is still text messages and paper printouts. Seems a bit antiquaited, doesn’t it? It certainly did to us when Adonal Foyle came to Angled End with a special request in 2010.

Adonal had recently moved from playing as an Orlando Magic center to becoming their Director of Player Development. Forward-thinker that he has always been, he sought to modernize the way that his team was talking to their players and staff. At that point, players were sent texts as reminders that an event was coming up, where to go, what to do, etc., and there was no easy centralized resource for team-related information. Adonal wanted to leverage the popularity of smart phones and tablets to distribute that info in a more efficient and reliable manner.

The BackBoard’s home screen

The Angled End team had created the user interface for just one mobile app by that point in time, After the Beep, and our team hadn’t generated the app itself in that case. So our initial approach was to get quotes from established app development firms, then work with the lowest bidder. All of the bids were, unfortunately, well above the amount that Adonal was being granted for this experiment.

Programming wizard Michael McDonald felt that he would be able to take on the task, however, and an agreement was made with the Magic to develop the system for them in-house at half of the cost, with the understanding that the team would help Angled End turn around and sell the same system to other NBA teams. A revolution in pro sports mechanics had begun.

“We implemented the BackBoard this season, and have received an extremely positive response from our staff and players. Our communication has clearly improved.

~ Adonal Foyle
Player Development, Orlando Magic

Fast forward a full season and the Magic team was happily using the Mobile BackBoard, a communications system comprised of a mobile app and a web administration portal. On their own mobile devices, players and staff have access to:

  • A full calendar with color-coded entries denoting the event type
  • Internal person-to-person and person-to-group messaging
  • Detailed contact info separated by role type (player, staff, medical, etc.)
  • Detailed itinerary and destination info (hotel location, good local restaurants, etc.)
  • Full scouting reports and video clips for studying the next team in the schedule

As of this writing, there is no other system that fulfills this role in pro sports, and the Angled End team is in the process of reaching out to teams in all of the major American sports at the pro and collegiate levels.