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WVU graduates solve age old question

How many times have you been sitting in your living room or even on the road traveling and want to know what channel your favorite team is playing on?
Undoubtedly the next step is actually attempting to find game, which results in a frustrating sequence of scrolling through the various guides, internet searches or a host of other methods to attempt to track down just exactly where you can find your team on television.

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For most people this is a common occurrence, sometimes even daily depending on their proximity to their favorite teams, but thanks to the brainchild of two West Virginia University graduates and state natives those undesirable situations are a thing of the past.
The Bleacher Buddy phone application was designed when Parkersburg native Tyler Lowers called up his college friend and Morgantown native Judd Larke, a developer, and asked a simple question.
"Why don't we just make an app that tells you what channel the games are on?" Lowers said.
After thinking it over for a few minutes, Larke started researching the idea and quickly discovered that there was nothing on the market that was tailored to those specific needs and he realized that it could be an idea that might actually work.
"And it turns out that it's something that people thought would be a good idea," he said.
Work on the application started in January of 2013 and it was ready to go live six months later. Once it did, the response from those that have used the product has been overwhelming.
First of all, the Bleacher Buddy serves as a time saver and frustration reliever for users, answering the age old question of what channel the game is on in mere seconds. The application also has a built in notification system where you can go through and mark your favorite teams and it will track the team's schedules for you and alert you to where that team's game will be televised.
This is especially important for fans of those teams that play various nights of the week such as the NBA or NHL, Larke said.
The application also has a built in GPS feature, where those traveling can simply push one button and find all the providers in the area they are in instead of being forced to memorize various zip codes.
"It just makes it so easy," he said.
Larke, 28, and Lowers, 25, have known each other for five years after meeting each other in college and the name of the product was actually coined in large part because of the connotation it would have with sports fans and the experience they have had at games in the past.
"It's kind of like you're struggling, you can't find the game and who do you want to turn to? You turn to your bleacher buddy, someone to go to the game with and someone that will be with you and knows something about sports to help you out," Larke said.
The application has received feedback from all walks of life from Kirk Herbstriet to Olympic athletes to your run of the mill grandma, and that's part of what makes it special. In fact, part of the goal of the application is to continue to fine tune it and add more features, some of which have come from suggestions of those currently using it.
Ultimately, the duo have big plans for the application in the future and while Larke said he isn't trying to necessarily compete with some of the bigger named sports applications but instead add to a product that has cornered the market in its own niche. And he only hopes to continue to foster and develop the community that has sprung up since the inception of the application and is always welcome to suggestions from users.
"We want to have all the basic stuff you would expect to see but at the same time we want to keep it unique so it's not something everyone else is doing," he said.
Larke has remained in Morgantown and is a season ticket holder for the West Virginia football program and regularly attends basketball games. Lowers currently resides in Williamstown and also is a stout supporter of the Mountaineers.
"I've always loved West Virginia sports and I can speak for him that he's a big fan too," Larke said. "The programs have always been great and we're excited to see where it will go. We're usually an underdog but we've won a lot of games in that role like in the Orange Bowl. I think that's part of the fun of being a sports fan. I think it's really special and fun."
Bleacher Buddy is available in the Android and IPhone markets and more information can be found at bleacherbuddyapp.com. You can also connect on social media with Facebook.com/BleacherBuddy and Twitter.com/BleacherBuddy
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