WHY SPORTS APPS ARE WINNING WITH FANS
Usage is exploding as sports apps keep consumers deeply engaged
JULY 29, 2015
Keeping users engaged is one of the biggest challenges that mobile apps face, but new data suggests sports apps have found the right formula for success.
According to a new report by eMarketer, Canada Sports on Mobile: Fuelling New Fan Experiences, new features make sports apps more social, media-rich and engaging, which has led strong growth in usage in Canada.
In March 2015, mobile sports app usage in Canada was up 88% over the previous year, recording one of the highest jumps among app categories studied. The figure represents activity reported by Flurry, a mobile analytics firm owned by Yahoo.
“Apps make so much sense for sports as far as being able to — in the world of multi-tasking — watch one game and follow the other four or fives games that you have an interest in on a more cursory level,” said Bob Stellick, president of Toronto sports marketing firm Stellick Marketing Communications, in an interview with Marketing. “Technology has been fantastic for sports… and I would argue that sports have never been more popular for fans.”
eMarketer noted that many sports apps are centred on content, from highlight clips to player interviews to statistical deep dives. The richness of this content is having an impact, according to eMarketer. ComScore figures show 41% of digital time spent with sports content in Canada was on mobile at the end of 2014.
Checking sports scores via mobile apps is also common: 34% of smartphone owners surveyed in Canada by Catalyst Canada and GroupM Next in November 2014 said they checked scores via mobile devices.
The results aren’t all that surprising to Benjie Levy, president and COO of mobile sports media company theScore. “When you look at the real-time nature of sports, how people are engaging with content and the power of the smartphone to deliver rich content in real time, all of those things combine to really create the perfect storm for the explosive growth of consumption of sports content on mobile devices,” Levy told Marketing.
TheScore currently has 10.5 millions users. On average, users access it between 60 and 70 times a month, up from about 30 to 35 times a month a year ago. Levy said the increase is related to the evolution of its product, which has historically focused on real-time sports information, scores and data, powered by push alerts.
In 2013, theScore launched its own mobile newsroom dedicated to creating content. More recent features of the app include video highlights, embedded multi-media elements such as tweets and animated gifs and personalized content.
“When you follow something and there’s a scoring change or breaking news about your player in your fantasy lineup, that’s all pushed to you in real time,” said Levy, noting that half of theScore’s users take the time to personalize their feeds to include stories on their favourite teams and players.