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Sports Apps: Why the Sports Industry Needs Mobile Apps

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There are two types of people in this world: the ones that like doing sports and the ones that enjoy watching someone doing sports. Actually, the sports industry itself is as old as the first Olympic Games held in Ancient Greece - and ever since, it is being worshiped by millions of hardcore sports fans, be it sportsmen or spectators.

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Perhaps, this phenomena is what drives contemporary mobile app developers to make sports apps. So, today we’ll cover what key features should be present in your app and how much such development would cost you.

Sports App Market: Facts and Stats

Before we dive into the features and costs, let’s take a quick look at why sports apps can be a good investment for you.

There is one interesting fact for you - the North American sports market size keeps growing each year, and it is estimated to be worth $76.05 billion dollars by 2020. Besides, did you know that the Dallas Cowboys sports team’s brand value, ranked as the most expensive one in 2018, amounted to $4.8 billion dollars?

As you may have already guessed, all of this means that people have been and will always be interested in sports. Therefore, the business owners operating in the sports industry should expect high profits, given a proper business strategy, planning, and management.

So, why don’t you enter the market using one of the most innovative approaches - developing your own custom mobile app and launching it for the mass market?

No doubts, this idea is not just good, it is sound. Yet, you need to think through the feature list of your future app very thoroughly if you want to withstand the cutthroat competition in the market (just take a look at ESPN or TheScore to see what competitors you may need to beat).

How to Make a Sports App: 12 Indispensable Features

So, let’s take at the key functionality your future sports app has to have to stay highly competitive and, therefore, successful.

User Account

This is what is subconsciously appealing to those who have already downloaded the app. Basically, provided the intuitive navigation and a smart set of features, the user account functionality will score you a few more positive UX points.

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In particular, this is where users should be able to customize the app’s interface as much as possible to make it meet their needs. For instance, if you develop an aggregated app, you can allow the user to add its favorite sports team or sportsmen to the Favorites or Bookmarks list.

Besides, if your app includes in-app purchases, this is exactly where the user should be able to keep and manage the information on his or her banking card.

Payment Gateway

If you are going to implement in-app purchases, you should also take care of the payment gateway integration. Of course, you can create a payment gateway yourself; however, as the practice has shown, it is not the wisest choice for those who work on something other than the gateway itself. The thing is, getting the PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance certificate is a very long, complicated, and bureaucratic process. On the other hand, integrating a ready-made solution that already has the certificate takes up to eight working hours on average.

Ticket Sale

Dedicated fans don’t want to miss out on the games of their favorite teams or sportsmen. So, given you have a payment gateway integrated with your app, you can allow them to track and purchase the tickets right in the app, without leaving it.

As an alternative, you can integrate your app with a third-party ticket sale service. In this case, your users will be able to browse the tickets, track their prices and availability, but they make the final purchase on that service (and you get a fee from every transaction as you generate a new lead for that third-party service).

Brand Store

Most sports teams make a profit on selling their branded merchandise - scarves, T-shirts, flags, etc. So, if you aim to get an app for your sports team, this in-app store is a must for you if you want to get an additional source of income. (Of course, you’ll need a reliable payment gateway for implementing this feature.)

In case you want to make an aggregated sports app, you can still implement this feature - but instead of selling your brand’s items, you can aggregate the merchandise of the most popular teams or sportsmen in your in-app store. In this case, you’d have to partner up with said teams and sportsmen and you’ll get only a share of the profit - but it’s still an impeccable way to monetize your app.

Offline mode

If you ensure access to some of your app’s features without the Internet connection, this will be a huge advantage for your app as it would be more convenient for its users.

Social Media Integration

Today, social media are an irreplaceable part of our everyday lives. So, why don't you integrate this element of digital impact into your app? In this case, users will be able to share their impressions about the games and their favorite sports teams in a usual for them form - on their social media pages. For instance, the FC Liverpool app took it one step further - the Twitter feed is integrated into the app, so users can retweet the news. And all of this, of course, stimulates the user engagement.

Besides, social media integration has something more practical to it. Instead of making your future users fill in the registration form and create a new password, you allow them to start using the app within just a few clicks - all thanks to a button saying “Use my Google account”.

Sportsmen/Sports Teams Catalog

This is, perhaps, one of the most important features for a sports app. Even if you aim to attract only the fans of a particular sports team, it is not an excuse to deny them the pleasure of getting acquainted with the stories of their favorite sportsmen - and the history of the team as a whole.

Chat

It is also likely that you will need to implement the chat feature to allow your app’s users to share the latest news in the world of sports with one another and discuss particular sports events and sportsmen.

News Feed

The news feed is a great opportunity to keep your users constantly interested in your app. And to ensure that not a single user misses the news, we strongly suggest implementing push notifications in the app. Besides the news themselves, tournament tables and the performance of sports teams or sportsmen (i.e., their points) will also be a perk for your users.

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If you develop a dedicated app for a certain team or a team sports tournament, you should include a Match Day Center. This is an information hub that contains all the relevant data regarding the games (the score, highlights from games and press conferences, the tournament table, etc.).

Notifications

Be it push or SMS notifications, they will help your users stay up to date regarding all the crucial sports events - and keep their hands on the pulse, so to speak. (True sports fans know how painful it is to forget about a game of their favorite team because of getting caught up in the mundane tasks.)

Calendar

This is one more great tool that will help your users plan their free time and keep in mind that they need to watch an important game at XX h YY min.

Live Streaming

Live game streaming will be the icing on the cake of your app - you can provide your users with an opportunity to watch the games of their favorite sports teams without leaving the app. Besides, you can also allow the users to watch the records of the games - this is how you can make your app a go-to destination for everything related to their favorite sport or sportsmen.

Bonus: Using Sophisticated Technologies

As for the latest technological trends (and the feasibility of using them), we’d like to point out two of them that deserve your attention - virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Both VR and AR actually can add their momentum to your app. For instance, you can implement AR-based functionality that would allow seeing the sportsmen amidst the environment that surrounds the user at the moment (like in the best traditions of Pokemon GO).

From a marketing standpoint, it is a costly yet extremely profitable approach - AR- and VR-based apps are now at the height of their popularity. So mentioning these technologies in the app description will guarantee the number of downloads to rise, even without sophisticated and expensive advertising.

Types of a Sports Club App: Which One to Choose

Basically, all sports app can be divided into two categories: dedicated apps and aggregated apps.

The first type includes apps that are dedicated to a particular sports team. Manchester United и FC Barcelona are two bright examples of such apps. On the one hand, dedicated apps almost always hit the target as they are aimed at groups that are already fans of a certain team. Besides, they are usually created with the support of the organizers and sponsors of that team - so, you won’t have to worry about the marketing strategy. (They are more often than not ready to promote the app on the official website - and this will be more efficient than any other ad.)

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As for the second type of apps, their name is self-descriptive - these are apps that aggregate up-to-date information on several sports teams at once (usually, what they have in common is that they belong to the same sport). Here are the most widely-known examples of aggregated apps (we’ve already mentioned some of them before) - ESPN, THUUZ, TheScore and CBS Sports.

How Much Sports App Development Costs

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room for those who are willing to release their own sports app - how much sports app development may cost you.

As you may already know, it depends. The first thing you need to determine is which platform you want your app to run on. If you want a native app for both iOS and Android, you’ll need to at least double all the development- and release-related expenses.

In case you’d prefer your app to be a cross-platform or hybrid one, you’ll save some money on the development for two and more platforms - yet, keep in mind that the functionality of such apps may be limited, so you should ask for a professional technical assessment to understand which type would suit your particular case.

If you think the costs are too high, it may be more feasible for you to launch an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) first. After its release, you’ll be able to analyze the real users’ feedback and, using the received insights, start working on the full-fledged version of your app. This is an especially great option for the solutions that are one-of-a-kind in their own unique niche - and that offer something not seen before, unprecedented to the users.

As a rule, native development of an MVP for an entertainment app rarely costs more than $30-40 thousands per OS. As a result, you get a ready-to-launch, fully tested app that can be improved further and meticulously adapted to the needs of your target groups.

Now, let’s see who you will need on your team to start working on the project (this is especially important for those product owners that want to assemble a team of freelancers):

  • Project manager;
  • Frontend developers (usually, you need two and more of them for a mobile app);
  • 1-2 backend developers;
  • a UI/UX designer;
  • 1-2 QA specialists.

Finally, a few words on the working hours required for each main development stage. Front-end sports app development usually takes no less than 600 working hours. The design takes 200 to 300 working hours on average. As for the backend, it is quite resource-demanding (especially if you need to implement the live streaming functionality) and will take no less than 400 working hours. As for testing and QA, expect to spend 90-110 working hours on it, on average.

Therefore, the minimum amount of time for developing a sports app is 2,100 hours. (We’d like to point out that it is the fairest calculation possible - most IT companies understate the required time to get more money out of the client during the development process.) If you multiply this number of working hours by an average rate of Ukrainian developers ($40 per hour), we get an estimated cost of $84,000 for an app. Surely, this estimate is approximate - you can reduce the expected expenses by adjusting the feature list and including fewer features or just focusing on the less expensive ones.

Conclusion

So, if you get yourself a team of experienced mobile app development specialists and make sure your marketing campaign is powerful, conquering the top of the sports apps market’s heights will not be a big deal for you.

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If you are still looking for a development partner, you’ve come to the right place - reach out to us at Applikey Solutions! We’ll gladly take up your project and make it a reality using the latest approaches and mobile app development technologies. And, of course, we’ll do everything in our powers to leave you as satisfied with our cooperation as possible.

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