How to Achieve Better Fan Engagement with Sports App Development

How to Achieve Better Fan Engagement with Sports App Development

Sports apps are proliferating in the sports industry as teams begin to understand how branded sport apps can improve and revolutionize the user experience by creating new fan engagement opportunities.

The world is getting mobile and the sports industry is no exception. This digital age offers incredible opportunities.

Not everybody can physically attend games in stadiums. The younger generation, especially, often prefers interaction with digital platforms to attending the matches in person. Even those who go to the stadium are often seen consuming digital content during live matches. Some of them view replays, statistics, analysis and results of other matches. Others use mobile technology to share and check updates on social media.

According to the Sports Business Institute, 87% of sports fans are second screening while watching a live sports broadcast. And some are even triple screening or multiple screening.

How Can Sports Apps Engage Fans?

Not long ago, engagement was measured through the ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ a brand received on their social media. But things have changed with the arrival of new technologies in the market.

This is especially true for a dynamic industry, like the sports sector, where fans need to be updated regularly through news and events to keep them engaged.  Sports apps can serve this purpose and fulfill the ever-increasing user demands.

What Kind of Sports App Should I Develop?

There are  various kinds of sports apps available in the market today. And to help you in deciding which one should you go after, we are highlighting some of the most popular genres.

Dedicated sports app

1. Dedicated and Aggregator Apps

These are, perhaps, the most popular kind of sports apps. Dedicated apps focus on only one team, that’s why they’re also called team apps. The Real Madrid or Manchester United Official app and the IRFU app are good examples of a dedicated app. And Sky Sports, Fox Sports, DAZN are all aggregator apps.

Despite their differences, they are, in fact, quite similar.

For better fan engagement you can include the most common fan engagement tools in your mobile app, such as: team news, results, fixtures, statistics, analysis, replays, highlights, radio coverage, social media feeds and exclusive content like interviews and videos.

Many sports organisations use these kinds of apps for monetization allowing fans to purchase tickets to matches, stadium tours, museum tours and club merchandise.

If you would like to increase the number of users for your dedicated or aggregator app, you should consider adding these features to your application:

  • Push notifications - tell fans about new content, events, results, tickets, or merchandise
  • Profiling – send the most important targeted messaging to the right fans at the right time
  • Payment gateway - lets users comfortably make purchases through your app
  • Real-time chat – find and communicate with other fans for better engagement
  • Cloud services – lets you avoid paying for external servers for storing vast amounts of sports content

Live streaming app

2. Live Streaming Apps

In order to attract more fans, including those who prefer watching the match in the comfort of their homes, you can build a sports video streaming app.

Obviously rights may be problematic for live video broadcast. When we talk about live streaming apps we don’t only mean videos. You can develop a sports radio app giving users live game coverage and podcasts. You can develop a text commentary app that could integrate real time expert and fan opinion.

Regardless of if it’s a video, audio or text streaming app, live coverage can enhance fan engagement.

Fantasy Sports Apps

3. Fantasy Sports Apps

Fantasy sports apps are online games where participants assemble imaginary or virtual teams of real players of a professional sport. These teams compete in virtual championships and leagues based on the statistical performance of those players’ in actual games.

These apps don't only engage users to play online - even against others -, but they can also offer betting possibilities, which enlarges the audience you can target.

These fantasy sports apps can focus on a single sport, like Fantasy Football Draft Wizard, or can include multiple sports in one mobile app, such as ESPN Fantasy Sports.

The features you should integrate are very similar to those of the sports betting apps. You’ll have to provide match and user betting statistics, betting functionality, and a payment gateway.

But the biggest challenge is to find a way to add real players for virtual teams and generate competitions between these teams.

Virtual reality (VR) sports app

4. Virtual Reality: The Next Stage

As technology advances at pace, it’s becoming more difficult to keep the fans engaged. AR and VR can make the user experience more realistic than ever. Fans can, for example, feel themselves closer to their favorite team or player in the stadium.

In 2018, the technology of virtual reality took a big step. For the first time, all 33 matches of the World Cup were available through the BBC Sports app.  And in the NBA, VR compatibility is available for every game during the 2018–19 season, up from 27 live games a year ago.

Virtual reality technology is still in its nascent stages, and there are issues that need to be resolved.  But it’s the technology of the future.  It will allow a fan sitting on the opposite edge of the world to enjoy a live match as though he were in the stadium.

Sounds interesting, right?

What to Include In Your Sports Mobile App?

As evident from the examples above, creating an engaging app for sports fans doesn’t require complex and expensive features. In some cases, adding essentials and packing them into an appealing and easy-to-navigate UI and UX can do the job.

A sports app must provide information about the matches, teams and players. But what about the other features that you could implement?

If you are a sports/gaming app owner, or if you are interested in creating one, these are a few ideas to increase the engagement rate of your app.

Push notifications

Depending on the user interests, you can send different types of push notifications with real time information. Users can get latest scores, breaking stories, and big moments of their favorite sports / teams, in real time, through such notifications. This can drive more traffic to the app and keep the users coming back to the app time and again.

Unique Content

Fans love to feel close to their favourite player and teams. Accessing unique content can help to embed these relationships.

Given that sports organisations often have media time built into players’ contracts, there is a valuable opportunity to create and serve up contentment that other media cannot.

Such content can include ‘behind the scenes’ or ‘fly on the wall’ type content that bring fans ‘inside’ what is happening with their team and their players.

Mobile ticketing

Your app should allow users to purchase tickets to games and events that they are interested in. Having the option to buy a ticket directly from the app can be very attractive for users and it can help you sell way more e-tickets than before.

Virtual reality

Fans that are watching matches from home can get the feel of being in the stadium. Fans can feel the real action and get a better view of the game in high-definition from all angles. This realistic experience can encourage them to engage more with your sports app.

Multiple Functionality

Some sports apps focus on a single functionality. Others try to combine them all to achieve high user engagement. Add and combine some of the feature sets discussed here to add depth and sophistication to how your app engages your audience.

Appify for Your Sports App Needs

Appify is a leading sports app development company. We have years of experience in working with sports teams and organizations. Our unique experience in the sports industry has allowed us to influence technology usage within the sector and offer cutting-edge solutions to governing bodies, sports clubs, sports sponsors and fitness companies.

We offer unique insights and technology solutions in fan engagement, fan monetization, sport participation, talent identification, fitness delivery and various other areas.

If you have an app idea to realize, or if you need more information about our services, don’t hesitate to contact us!

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