A Troy software startup called Imagineapp has developed a smartphone application that lets users at stadiums and entertainment venues order food and drink to be picked up at an express line or delivered to their seats.
The app, called Snag, is scheduled to go live on Wednesday and will be officially introduced Thursday at Joe Bruno Stadium in Troy during media day for the Tri-City ValleyCats. The Joe is one of two venues so far that have signed on to use Snag; the other is All-Pro Freight Stadium in Avon, Ohio, home of the Lake Erie Crushers baseball team, part of the independent Frontier League.
Snag was conceived during a preseason National Hockey League game at Times Union Center last year, when more than 9,400 fans watched the New Jersey Devils face the New York Rangers. Daniel Cody and Peter Yeager, friends who had attended RPI together, were at the game and waited in a beer line for so long that they missed two goals and much of the second period.
"We said, 'There's got to be a better way to do this,'" says Cody. (Smartphone ordering is available at the TU Center for select seats at Siena College basketball games but not for other arena events.)
Cody and Yeager found that just a few companies offer mobile-concession-ordering apps, but there are more than 2,500 stadiums nationwide with capacities of 5,000 people or greater, Cody says. They founded Imagineapp the week after the hockey game and brought aboard a third partner, Jim Connell, a veteran programmer who, at 33, is a decade older than Cody and 11 years Yeager's senior.
For the near future Snag will be available at http://snagmobile.com, which, like the main website, is due to launch Wednesday. (Getting added to Apple's app store, says Cody, "takes an eternity.")
Smartphone users can order from Snag's customized concessions menu and pay with a credit card, as a one-time transaction or through a securely stored account, and receive a text message when the order is ready. At Bruno Stadium, orders can be picked up at a dedicated Snag Express line.
Snag also has the capability to place orders for delivery to individual seats, a service that may be introduced for premium seats at the Troy ballpark later in the season. The Crushers' stadium in Ohio is offering seat delivery from the beginning of the season.
There is no fee for using Snag; Bruno Stadium pays Imagineapp a percentage of sales made through the app. The ballpark also receives information about users that includes age, gender, hometown and buying habits. Imagineapp is considering using the data to target advertising to users.
The contract with Bruno Stadium is for the 2012 season and is viewed as a test for both Snag and the ballpark, said Chris Chenes, ValleyCats media manager. "It's win-win: They gather research info for their new app, and in turn their service is going to help us," says Chenes. "If the fans like it, it's something we'll consider keeping and maybe expanding."
Cody envisions Snag being rolled out at movie theaters, golf courses and amusement parks in addition to sports and entertainment sites.
"Snag takes all the time out of ordering and fulfillment," says Cody. "You can order from your seat, get a text when it's ready and pick it up in the express line -- or even have it delivered right to your seat. We think there's incredible potential."
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