Please see the updates at the bottom of the post.
If this isn’t a kick in the head to all Habs fans in Canada, heck the world, I don’t know what is. Bell Canada released a mobile app for the Canadiens, which is cool, I have the one for the Canucks, but instead of letting all hockey fans get the app; it’s only available to Bell Canada customers:
Ahead of their home opener tomorrow night, Bell has announced the introduction of a Montreal Canadiens mobile app for the Android, Blackberry and iOS platforms.
Unfortunately for most Canadians, including most Montrealers, the app will be unavailable to them because Bell is restricting its use to Bell Mobility customers.
Seriously Bell? Hockey is one of the things that unites Canadians. Fine, until playoff time, but still. In the States (and many other places) this practice is called tying, but here I think it’s just unsportsmanlike conduct. That’s, what, five minutes in the penalty box?
Fine, fine they spent money on making the app, so have ads in it. Even if they don’t have ads, I think Bell could afford to just give the app away for free. How unCanadian can you get. Your company, named for for inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, denies people a cool way to follow one of the country’s favorite teams?
Not only does the app allow fans of the Canadiens to follow along, they also get to vote on the game’s Three Stars, usually decided by the sports media. So, what Bell is doing is limiting this fan choice to only the fans who are lucky (?) enough to pay Bell? Yeah, that’s a fail in my book.
So while we can lobby the government to ban tying in like this, I think Bell should just suck it up, open up the app to all hockey fans, and let the fans enjoy it.
Remember, keep your stick on the ice.
Update: I am happy to be wrong! Yes, wrong. I got voicemails and emails from Bell Canada correcting the source story. Although I couldn’t find the app in the Apple App Store yet, the app will be available to everyone. But …
Not all the features are available to everyone. Bell customers get exclusive videos and the ability while at a Habs game to be able to share pictures that can be shown on centre ice. Fair trade? Yeah I’m okay with that. Sure some folks will be annoyed, but you have to offer some perks to your own customers. Would it make me switch from my carrier to Bell just for that? Probably not, but then again I’m not a Habs fan.
The rest of the features, including Three Stars voting, are open to all. The full press release available for you to check out.
Ah, it’s good to be wrong sometimes.