The article was updated on November 27, 2020.
In February, 2020, ESPN, the top-grossing sports statistics app worldwide, increased its earnings by a factor of 4 compared to the total profits in February, 2019, reaching $14 million in user spending.
Overall, on the mobile market, sports apps have a slightly larger reach than education, dating, and finance applications. Statistics also indicate that as much as 64% of sports fans aged between 18 and 27 use a mobile app to consume sports-related content. This percentage reaches 65 for the group aged 28-35 years old.
This represents a significant opportunity for app developers and appreneurs willing to enter the sports app market. If you are looking to join the sports trend, this article will be your starting point.
So, let’s focus on the leading market players and try to find out what it takes to develop a sports statistics app.
Sports statistics apps can be a great addition to a marketing strategy for a sport venue or event, as well as for a sports team or organization. It is a great way to build a strong community around your business and reinforce your brand image.
Media companies focusing on the sports industry can also benefit from building mobile apps to provide its audience with access to their resource on the go. However, any sports enthusiast can hire app developers to build a sports app with a unique twist: a location-based community or an app dedicated to an amateur sports team.
There are several types of sports statistics apps. The largest categories include gambling apps, sports aggregators (applications covering the majority of recognized sports), dedicated apps focusing on a team or event, and fantasy sports software.
Sports aggregator apps strive to represent as many popular sports as possible. They gather the news, events, highlights, and results of various sports in one place.
- ESPN (SportsCenter)
ESPN, one of the most popular sports channels in the US, has a great number of custom mobile apps for sports enthusiasts. Often referred to as SportsCenter, its main app covers all basic features sports fans might want to access: from news coverage and instant score updates to live streams and video highlights.
The app also offers vast personalization options and tailored alerts focusing on news that might be interesting to each individual user.
TheScore is another useful app for sports fans. It also provides real-time score updates, detailed player/team stats, and the latest sports news.
The app has advanced personalization options based on the user’s preferences and provides instant notifications.
Dedicated sports apps
These sports statistics apps focus on a particular sport, team or event, allowing users to get more in-depth information about a particular player, watch game replays and highlights, and view extensive statistics.
- Forza Football
This app focuses on one sport (football), yet provides a more detailed view on the information. You can find live score updates, information about your favorite teams, match lineups, and video highlights.
Yet, the key feature of the app is its “opinion polls” – independent surveys you can take part in to voice your opinions about the outcome of the upcoming matches, general information about the teams, etc.
- NBA App
The official NBA app offers live videos as well as full game replays. The app even allows users to upload game replays to watch offline. Additionally, users choose from several subscription options to exclude commercials.
Fantasy sports apps
A fantasy sports mobile application aims to give you the thrill and fun of engaging in the sports world from the comfort of your home.
- CBS Fantasy Sports
CBS Fantasy is an aggregator fantasy sports app. Among its numerous features, the app offers live and mock drafts, forecasts for each sport and team, and player updates.
The application covers fantasy hockey, football, baseball, and basketball. Although it may feel a little overwhelming at first, CBS Fantasy Sports is a good entering point into the world of virtual sports.
Among all the fantasy sports apps, DraftKings is probably the most widely known. The functionality of the app includes betting, so users should be mindful of their location and the potential dangers of gambling.
In addition to the standard pack of fantasy sports, DraftKings includes golf, soccer, MMA, CFL, and Nascar.
Sports betting apps
A sports betting app allows users to place bets on sports events, track the results, and receive their money if their bet comes out on top.
Since sports betting involves business activity, and it’s not legal worldwide, there are several points you need to keep in mind when making such an application. The Apple App Store highlights the following requirements:
- Users must be able to download the app for free.
- The application must channel money to a registered business with a valid gambling license.
- Users must not be able to access the app from areas that are not covered by the license.
Android developers must adhere to similar rules, but they also have to make the app age-restricted (for adults only) and ban Google in-app billing services. Both stores also require developers to include a warning that educates users on the dangers of gambling.
Currently, the most popular gambling apps include the following:
- PointsBet Sportsbook
PointsBet is currently legal in New Jersey, Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana, but the company is working towards a US-wide expansion. The app gives users a handy and straightforward gateway to betting on games in 15 different sports.
Users can expect fast and easy money transfers, helpful customer support, and various permanent and seasonal bonus offers.
- William Hill
William Hill is one of the best-known sports betting apps on the market. Although the app may feel slightly outdated, it offers a clean and minimalistic interface that’s easy to navigate.
Currently, the Willian Hill app is available in Iowa, Nevada, West Virginia, New Jersey, Colorado, and Indiana.
How to develop a sports statistics app? Must-have features and additional capabilities that make a winning sports app
As with any other app category, most sports statistics apps have a number of common features. Without them, your app won’t be able to live up to your users’ expectations. So, consider the following must-have features that make a good sports statistics app.
Core features for sports statistics apps
- News feed with the latest sports information. This will require integration with popular sports news portals. It is important to keep the feed focused on the user’s preferred topics (certain teams, sports, leagues, or local sports news). Alternatively, you can include both a personalized feed and a “Trending” news tab.
- Real-time score updates for those who cannot watch the streams on TV or online. According to an Avaya report, almost three-quarters of sports fans aged 18-34 would like to get real-time score updates.
- Community features such as comments, group discussions, chat rooms, etc., are good to include because they allow users to interact with each other and discuss the news or scores in real time. Also, allow users to share the content outside of the app (on Twitter or Facebook).
- User profile that contains personal information (e.g. favorite teams or sports, location, favorite sports bars, etc.), in order for the app to tailor the experience according to individual preferences of its users. According to the Avaya report mentioned above, 70% of respondents would like to receive special offers on food or merchandise while at the game.
- Push notifications to help users keep up with the latest events. They aim to keep push notifications relevant and urgent. For instance, using this method to remind users about an upcoming game is justified, while informing them about a new feature is better done via email.
- Sports selection, particularly if you’re creating a sports aggregator app. This feature can help users customize the interface and clear out the information that’s not relevant to them, which they feel could cause annoyance in the long run. In general, users are more likely to stick with the app that offers a broad variety of options without being overwhelming, and the sports selection feature is great for achieving this balance.
- Schedules for all games in each sport would be immensely helpful. Regardless of the type of an application you have, customer loyalty will increase if you enable users to check game schedules for their preferred sports within the app.
- Payment systems to help users conduct money transfers. If you’re planning to create a sports betting app or offer some in-app purchase options, you will need to integrate a secure and fast payment system into the application.
How to stand out among the competition? Additional features for sports statistics apps
While most of the sports statistics apps have the above-listed features in common, there is still room for improvement to create something more valuable and more entertaining.
Here are some unique twists that can make your sports app stand out among the competition.
- Live streaming is an extremely valuable, yet, challenging feature. While most sporting events are streamed by media companies (including ESPN), using their own apps. You can use one of the popular live streaming platforms, such as Ustream, to get access to the content. Alternatively, video replays can also be a great addition for sports apps (for those who cannot watch the game live or in its entirety).
- In addition to traditional social media features mentioned above, you can add an ability to publish user-generated content or host live streams and Q&A sessions with famous players.
- You can build a chatbot to complement your app. This handy feature can send live score updates or simply share fun facts and interesting information about the user’s favorite team.
- While being extremely entertaining, online betting might be tricky. That is why you should be careful when adding this feature to your app. Consider a gamified betting experience with in-app points, just to engage and retain your users.
- You can partner with venues and events and sell tickets to sporting events (take for example StubHub). In addition to being simply convenient, this is also a great monetization strategy.
Read also: How a Mobile App Can Increase Your Sales
- Again, you can offer additional help for users visiting certain sporting events, offering simple navigation options (with the help of beacons or static venue maps), to help users find their seats. Sports apps also can help users address some common problems, e.g. finding facilities at the stadium, getting live updates about the length of lines, or pricing information.
- Other gamification features you can add to your app include activity rating, various quizzes and tasks the user should complete in order to get points or achievements.
- Augmented reality can help bring your users onto the field or court with their favorite players. This feature is particularly popular with fantasy sports apps, but, depending on the type of an application you have, you can use AR to enrich your user experience in a practically unlimited number of ways.
- Real-time analytics can give users an idea of which team has the upper hand at any moment. You can use data analytics to display team and player stats in-between games and dynamic forecasts during the season. Real-time analytics is also a must-have in sports betting apps.
- AI & ML-based algorithms present more advanced tools for analytics. You can use machine learning models to create forecasts for games, give users insights into potentially beneficial player trades, and identify each player’s unique abilities, to name a few.
If your app is free to download, advertising is the most tried way of generating revenue. You can charge fees both from companies that wish to advertise their products and from users who would prefer to get an ad-free version.
Additional paid content
Even if you create a sports app that’s free to download and keep the advertising humble, you can still make the most out of in-app purchases. Your app might contain certain features, such as premium statistics, more extensive customization options, or developer toolkits, and you should use them to earn revenue. If your prices are reasonable and the payment system is smooth enough, sports enthusiasts are likely to spend at least some money inside the app.
Note: advertising and in-app purchasing options may be limited if you’re creating a betting app. Review your local regulations carefully before planning your campaign.
Fees for joining fantasy contests
In fantasy sports apps, you can instill a fee for entering a contest. When a user wishes to join some contest, they will have to pay a moderate price, while the application itself remains free.
Partnerships with sports leagues
Partnering with sports leagues or professional teams can help you get both exposure and profit. This option is potentially the most rewarding of the bunch, but it also requires the most effort to implement since you need to find sports clients and negotiate with them.
Another option is to target unpopular sports that need promotion. You can strike a deal with sports authorities to include a particular kind of activity into your marketing campaign and the app’s content for a one-time or regular fee.
The global sports industry is a huge market currently worth $1.3 trillion, which is increasingly going mobile. As more sports enthusiasts use apps to check scores, connect with other sports fans, or to keep up with the latest news about their favorite teams: new opportunities will open up for app developers.
How to get started?
The product discovery phase is the best first step you can take to lay a solid foundation for the development of your app. It includes a functional specification, UX/UI design, and a visual prototype that will give you a clear vision of the end product. On average, this phase takes 4-6 weeks.
The product discovery phase can help you:
- define a full scope of work and develop a roadmap for the project
- set a realistic budget for your MVP and plan your resources
- test the waters with your audience using a visual prototype
- craft a convincing investment pitch
- get to know your team
If you are willing to explore the available and unforeseen opportunities with the sports industry, or already have a killer idea for a sports statistics app, get in touch with us now. We have a portfolio of successful mobile app development projects, as well as business expertise to help you build a successful product from scratch.
Give us a call or use our contact form to receive a personal consultation from one of our senior project managers.