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Why the Sports Industry Is Going Mobile (Just Like Everybody Else)

The sports industry is known for forming tight communities that unite members of sports teams, sports industry professionals and fans. Today, these communities thrive within mobile apps. Sports clubs and teams of professional players invest in sports team app development with the idea that a mobile app will benefit all members of their community.

Sports apps are popular because:

1. Sports apps promote team spirit.

Mobile apps keeps fans connected even when they’re not at the big game. They keep the team spirit alive.    

2. They send score updates and notifications about wins.

Sports fans like constant updates and love to get news about a big win. Sports apps can keep fans up to date as the game is happening. Plus, information such as the  score, number of goals, and highlights of the latest match can easily be put into card formats and delivered as push notifications.

3. Sports apps offer a lot of potential for tailored content.

Fans want relevant information while it’s still current. Imagine if somebody filtered through all ongoing games in real-time and notified you when your favourite team was about to win so you could catch the action. Good news! There’s an app — Thuuz — that already does just that. Thuuz, available on Apple and Android devices, rates games according to a proprietary system and then alerts you of games you’re actually interested in. Thuuz also knows a thing or two about empathy, breaking the news about losses gently. Thuuz is a great example that can serve as inspiration for professional sport club app development.

why sports clubs need an app

[The Thuuz app. Source: Quitefrankly]

What sports apps are out there?

If you want to build a mobile app for professional sports teams, you need to know what similar apps are out there. If we take a closer look at the United States market, we’ll see that the NBA, the NHL, and the MLB have already invested in mobile apps —  but not every individual team has an app. Of 30 National Basketball Association (NBA) team apps, only 16 (53.3 percent) are official.

The National Hockey League fares better, with all 30 teams offering official mobile apps to their fans. The National Football League has 30 official apps, while the  Major League Baseball offers individual team interfaces within the league’s comprehensive app.

Let’s look at the most popular of these apps to understand what users are really looking for in a mobile app for their sports team. There are two major types of apps we will look at: dedicated apps developed for a certain sports club or team, and aggregators that provide information about multiple teams.

1. Dedicated apps

Dedicated apps are usually developed for big name teams and clubs. The FC Barcelona official app is a good example. Their app, with support for English, Spanish and Catalan, is easy to use and visually pleasing. It offers personalized content, for any Barça sport you wish to follow, including football, basketball, handball, roller hockey, futsal, Barça B and women's football. If you are looking into how to create mobile apps for pro sport clubs, you should take a closer look at this app.

why sports industry goes mobile

[FC Barcelona official app. Source: Appannie]

The FC Barcelona app shows how various elements of a multi-billion dollar industry can be combined together to provide fans with the most fulfilling experience. The FC Barcelona app syncs with R@dio Barça so you can listen live on your phone or tablet in English, Spanish or Catalan. Users can also set real-time alerts for goals and announcements of the final score.

In the US market, the New York Mets offer a similar app for their fans. Their app includes more than 15 different news feeds with content from different blogs and sites. Users can read recent news, listen to podcasts, and view the New York Mets schedule and statistics. Fans can also purchase tickets directly from the app.

2. Aggregator apps  

Unlike dedicated apps, aggregators provide information about multiple teams or clubs as well as schedules for multiple stadiums, tournaments and games all within one platform. Often to satisfy fans you need more than to create a sports club mobile app for a particular club.

The ESPN app for Android and iOS (formerly known as SportsCenter) is a good example. It offers global sports news and keeps fans updated with scores, professional analysis, and news about teams and leagues. The ESPN app also lets fans customize a list of their favourite players or teams and follow news about all the athletes they care about.

Another popular aggregator, theScore (Android, iOS), is loved for providing  fast updates and breaking sports news. Fans can use theScore to find upcoming games using the event calendar. Information about matches also includes detailed statistical breakdowns that are useful for those who like to bet on their favourite team. theScore is well integrated with social networks, allowing users to share  important information with their friends and followers.

Sports app development

[TheScore app. Source: Venturebeat]

Fans of collegiate sports will appreciate the official  National Collegiate Athletic Association’s NCAA Sports app. The NCAA Sports app lets users view live video coverage of more than 65 championship events and find information about scores and schedules for multiple championships. Users can also follow specific schools for custom score notifications, and view team hubs for the latest scores, news and social media feeds.

Now that we’ve taken a look at which sports apps are popular and why fans love them, we can identify the top four reasons why a sports team or club needs a mobile app. 

4 reasons to develop a mobile app for a sports team or club

  1. To create a welcoming environment where sports fans can interact with each other and with their favourite members of the sports team.
  2. To create an e-commerce platform to sell branded goods and other promotional materials. In 2015, sporting goods revenue in the US reached $64.8 billion.
  3. To provide fans with the opportunity to book, buy and sell tickets to matches and team-related events.
  4. To create a betting platform where fans can place bets on their favourite team.

Your app may be motivated by any of these four reasons, or by multiple. Sports apps are great for team because they they let fans build a tight community and they help teams monetize their brand.

 
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