Sports Event Apps are a great fit for organizations, big and small. Learn how to maximize the sports fan experience and drive revenue with apps.
Sports event apps are more popular than ever.
Practically every fan has a smartphone. During events fans to look for information, entertainment and interaction using their phones.
As a good example, Google saw its highest traffic peak ever during the FIFA World Cup 2022 final. And it’s not just the World Cup.
Apps are increasingly popular at sports events of all shapes and sizes. But how to make the most out of them?
Let’s explore practical use cases and case studies.
Following sports with another device is common, practically universal, as 96% of us use a second screen.
For 74%, that device is their mobile phone. During the game, fans browse social media to engage with other fans watching the game. They want to see updates of the match, and relive the highlight clips in real time.
It’s also common to look for related information, like player bios and match results – as is evident by the Google traffic record. When event organizers offer these functionalities through their own sports event app, they can fulfill the fans' needs on their owned media rather than letting them go elsewhere.
When operating this way, the organizers can serve their fans on two screens at once.
Smartphones are also a popular “first screen”, especially for Gen Z fans who consume videos in the smartphones more than the general population.
Centralize the live stream and content into a fan engagement app, and you can draw the users’ full attention.
Video is the most popular content format among sports fans, according to the State of Sports Fan Engagement 2023 survey by iSportConnect and Choicely
Whether there are 1,000 or 100,000 attendees, a sports event app is the simplest communications tool at a sports event. Everyone has their phone and accessing apps is easy and fast. Some of the app content can also show without a functioning internet connection.
In a sports event – and especially in a bigger tournament – there’s so much information that it’s useful to put it into one place:
Apps simply handle these jobs better than other digital channels would do.
Also, centralizing all the information and features into one app is a good idea in terms of fan engagement. There are all kinds of separate sports apps available: sports stats apps, live sports news apps, livescore apps, and so on, but a centralized app will keep the fan engaged longer on your own platform.
The event organizer can insert in-app purchases into the app, so fans could easily buy food, drinks, merchandise or tickets with their apps.
If there are real-time changes, organizers can react quickly and reach their fans no matter where they are by sending push messages. The messages can for example remind about a topical event or offer promotions – so fans get the most out of their event experience.
It’s not just about what happens during the match. Fans like to watch the highlights, read stories, and talk about the game afterwards. With an app, a sports event organizer can bring all these stories together to the fingertips of the fans.
Organizers can also entertain fans with different activation tools, like:
These tools entertain the fans and engage them with the organizing brand.
One of the obvious reasons why sports organizations – and other businesses – are establishing their own mobile app is to grow their business. The app offers many new sources of income for sports organizations, like tournaments, leagues, federations or clubs.
Let's explore these income streams further.
For many sports organizations sponsorships are their main source of revenue. Sponsorships are also effective, according to Nielsen’s 2021 study 81% of people trust sponsors who are visible at sporting events.
A mobile app brings in new ways to showcase sponsors, also in creative ways. Some activations in the app can be branded after your sponsor, like “Coca-Cola Man of the Match Vote”.
Sports organizations can also offer main visibility to one of their sponsors, starting from the welcome screen. Smaller partnerships can be placed in other spots.
A mobile app can also be used as ad space, where the ad feed is brought inside the app. For advertisers, the app offers clear visitor and usage data.
A sports app should also feature seamless access to the ticket store and fan merchandise store. Once the fan is in the right mindset, it is much more likely to sell them merchandise or tickets to the next game. This can be further reinforced by using push notifications with timely offers.
For a sports organization a mobile app is one great option to collect and own data of its users. Where social media data is held by the platforms, this is the type of data that a sports organization will get to keep no matter what.
Direct your existing fans to the app, collect data of their engagement with the app. Learn what works, what doesn’t, and iterate. With a sports app you can also collect leads easily with activations, surveys and polls. On top of that, the sports event can also offer a premium subscription.
For a fan, the app is an icon of your sports brand. You get to make a deeper connection with the team or athlete you follow. In the app, you will have everything you need from schedules to tickets and social media accounts.
Mobile apps are seen as premium products. Thus an app is also a status symbol for the brand as well. The app is also the easiest way to reach the sports brand, found right on the home screens of the fans' phones – that they use 4,5 hours a day on average.
At the same time, the cost of producing a mobile app is going down. Thanks to no code software and drag-and-drop builders such as Choicely, more and more companies can produce their own apps. The trend is very similar to what happened with the growth of websites 10+ years ago.
Sports Event Apps are a proven way to improve the fan experience. Here are two examples from Choicely.
Judo is an Olympic sport practiced by over 20 million people around the world.
The app has quickly become a fan experience staple especially at the time of live events, where fans follow multiple matches through the app’s live scores and highlights.
During the most recent World Judo Championships, the app was used up to 1,5 hours per user on average!
Choicely has worked with Helsinki Cup since 2020. During these years the Helsinki Cup app has become the most popular communication platform among the event attendees. Learn more about the case study here.
There’s a number of good reasons why mobile apps fit so well with sports events.
People are already using phones and apps to support the event experience. Thanks to the ease-of-use, apps are such a natural fit with sports events both on and off site.
In the future, apps will become even more popular in sport events, big and small.
Learn more about our sports apps:
Faster time to market. Lower cost. Unlimited development possibilities.
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