IOWA CITY, IA—Saying the Iowa football program needed a "game changer" after a disappointing end to the 2014 football season, Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta unveiled plans for a new smartphone app being developed to provide greater connection between fans and the football program, called iILuvMyHawkeyes. Claiming the app will transition the football program into the "20th Century, and beyond!" Barta assured the assembled crowd of athletic department interns and clerical staff, and Bob Brooks, that "this new app is yet another example of my office pushing out envelopes!"
After a brief delay to allow Bob Brooks to insert a new tape into his cassette recorder as the beloved journalist explained the wonders of magnetic tape recording to an astonished Barta, the event continued. "With the new iILuvMyHawkeyes app fandom will finally take me and my office to the next level, for the ridiculously low price of $4.99 a month," Barta claimed while fumbling to demonstrate the new app on his laptop sized phablet. Barta opened by proclaiming, excitedly, that the new app uses "advanced ESP technology" to feed timely advertisements endlessly to the user, before being corrected by an intern who assured the crowd the app will not tap into a person's 6th sense but will tap into satellites via the use of standard global positioning. Barta continued on saying, "The more you take advantage of the iILuvMyHawkeyes app, the better fan you become. Buying things because the app says you should is a great way to get more in sync with our true program goals. With this revolutionary new iILuvMyHawkeyes app, I am certain we have reduced the need for our fans to think about anything other than Iowa football or the goods that our advertising partners sell."
Barta proudly announced that the app comes pre-synced with MySpace, allowing users to automatically post their Iowa Athletics Ticket Priority Points total. "We wanted a way for fans to show their friends just how much more they support the Hawkeyes than other fans do. Nothing says ‘I'm more of a real fan than you!' better than posting to MySpace that your priority point total just increased because you gave the I-Club $5,000!" When asked whether a fan discussing their donations online was appropriate subject matter to promote, Barta chuckled, "Oh, absolutely. It's perfectly normal for people to base their self-worth on money. How do you think Coach Ferentz views his self-worth? On wins and losses?"
The new app has several features that Barta believed would allow for fans to get closer to the football team than ever before. "With our What's Kirk Doing Right Now? feature it is almost like becoming an iMember of Kirk's iFamily!" Barta tapped on the feature to show that Coach Ferentz at that very moment was at the football offices drinking a cup of coffee and reading a newspaper while sitting down in a small room with an overhead fan on. "See how close you can get to...oh, wait a darn second," said Barta before hastily closing the app as Ferentz frantically waved him off.
Barta then introduced the What Would Ken O'Keefe Do? feature, where fans get to pick a play in real time during games that they think would have been better than the one that was actually called. "Fans like to be armchair offensive coordinators, right? So we thought why not allow them to second-guess Greg Davis during an actual game! We plan to eventually synchronize the top fan selection and show it on the scoreboard for viewing after each play. This kind of interactivity should be lots of fun for the fans, and Greg!" When asked if Ferentz had approved this feature Barta replied, "Not Kirk per se, because he was away recruiting. But we did run it by Austin Showalter, and he's a young offensive grad assistant who is tapped into the World Wide Web and stuff and he loved it, so we're going with it."
Barta listed another feature he insisted would allow fans to better interact with other fans and the football program in a way that will be more positive and upbeat. "One of the things we are hoping will happen with this new app is that all discussions of Iowa football on the Internet will now funnel through this app, and this app alone." Barta showed how the app has several unique emojis that he's certain Iowa fans will find equal to, if not better, than actual words. "I just love the High Five A Hawk emoji, which we modeled on Bob Sanders. It even makes a slapping sound when you use it! We expect fans to use this emoji when they greet each other on our discussion board. We have included a Punt! emoji too, which we expect fans to use when the conversation is veering off in a negative direction. My personal favorite though is the Dollar, Dollar Bill Y'all emoji. When you use it, a $25 bill comes out of your checking account, which the app requires you to sync with, and is deposited into the Athletic Department's banking account. We listened when fans told us they wanted a way to connect in a more tangible way and the Dollar, Dollar Bill Y'all emoji is a way to put your money where your typing fingers are." Barta said the app creators were feverishly working "as we speak" on even more ways for the app to get between Iowa fans and their wallet.
Barta listed off numerous other features within the app that he said would dramatically improve the game day experience. "We've included a Find The Nearest Payphone feature so if fans need to make a phone call they can quickly find a phone to do so. We included a feature that counts the number of beers you've had so you can tell when you've had too much or not enough to drink. Another useful feature will be the Cheer Shazam, which will allow our newer fans and older fans alike to identify the actual name of a cheer, then they can learn that cheer by going to our Cheer Store and buy that individual cheer's instructional guide, this way than can properly participate the next time that cheer is performed in the stadium. We are planning a special introductory price of five cheers for $5."
Barta also explained that iILuvMyHawkeyes would award badges to fans as they use the app. "We have 24 badges. We decided on 24 because that was Nile Kinnick's jersey number!" One of the badges Barta discussed was the V-Samm badge, which people are given when they get arrested during a tailgate. "We realize that badge might not be politically correct, but we're trying to be edgy so students will like football again." There is the Spring Chicken badge, which you are given if you do not show up for the spring game, "You don't want that baaaadge!" Barta shrieked. Barta identified as his favorite The Mayor badge, which is earned by visiting Kinnick Stadium the most in a 24-hour period. "Pretty cool, ‘eh? Kirk has that badge at the moment, so we are calling him 'The Mayor' and because he doesn't have a smartphone, or even a mobile phone, he has no idea why we keep calling him that. So it's lots of fun!" When asked if Iowa fans might balk at a badge that utilizes the well-known nickname of recent Iowa State basketball coach Fred Hoiberg, Barta replied, "Who?"
When asked how involved head coach Kirk Ferentz was with the project, Barta was equivocal. "Kirk did some work on it. Kinda. I think. But, really, I'm guessing," said Barta. "Look, fans don't expect Kirk to be current. They expect me to be current. What's important in the development of this new app is that we honor the fact that we have fans who are a very loyal, forgiving and patient bunch. We want to take advantage of that the best we know how." Finally, Barta was asked if the app will live stream any games, allow fans to provide critical feedback to him on their game day experiences or swap tickets? "No. No. Oh, and ha ha ha, no," he replied.
The app officially hits the market February 1, 2020, or a bit sooner if Kirk Ferentz is fired or retires.