Why is there so much hype about fantasy sports? To say the least, the industry is making some crazy money, stealing the hearts and minds of sports fans around the world. The article will reveal how you can create a fantasy sports app of your own that will be exciting and profitable at the same time.
What are fantasy sports?
Fantasy sports are interactive games in which players can assemble teams of real sportsmen or imaginary teams, and this way, experience full immersion in their favorite game, be it football, soccer, basketball, curling, etc. The most popular way to participate is through mobile devices, which boomed the demand for fantasy sports app development for iOS and Android in recent years. Numbers to prove it: the global fantasy sports market is anticipated to reach USD 34.66 billion by 2027, rising at a CAGR of 11.47% from its value of USD 26.02 billion in 2022.
How fantasy sports apps work
Based on how players perform in actual games, the teams compete. Similar to real sports, club owners in fantasy sports draft, trade, and drop players. Fantasy sports are considered games of skill and therefore not gambling, in which both luck and skill take place.
Let’s take a closer look at how fantasy sports apps work typically on the example of the most popular game so far, season-long fantasy football.
Step 1. Team setup
After the registration and onboarding parts are completed, the player creates a team of 11 players and gives it a name. From this point further, they are the team owner.
Step 2. Draft
Right before the season starts, the player along with other owners, which are usually from 10 to 12 in a league, holds a draft, in which they pick players they want on their teams.
Step 3. Competing
Each week of the actual season, the owner picks a set of players on their team to go on the field — the starters. These are typically a team's defense, one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, a tight end, and a kicker. After the draft and throughout the season, the player is able to pick up players who didn't get drafted, drop players, and trade with other owners. And it goes without saying that injured players are taken out on a “bye week.”
Step 4. Overview of results
Starters of every owner in the league compete each week. All owners receive points for the yards, touchdowns, field goals, and other real-world numbers that your players achieve. Whoever has more points at the end of the week's games wins. This continues throughout the entire season until the champion is clear.
Examples of successful fantasy sports apps
In any guide on starting a business, you will find the suggestion to research the market and competitors. This applies to creating fantasy sports apps as well, so we find it useful to list some of the popular market players and the things users love them for.
An absolute leader among fantasy sports apps. Aside from football, for which it is most known for, it allows creating fantasy baseball, basketball, and hockey leagues and playing these games by customized rules. ESPN combines rich functionality and the opportunity to stream with an easy-to-navigate interface, notifies players of all the events on the field, keeping them informed on score, injuries and anything else the player needs to know. Last year, almost 2 million people participated in fantasy sports on ESPN, and the number of downloads from stores is beyond dozens of millions.
NFL Fantasy Football
Users appreciate NFL Fantasy Football for timely and reliable news, which is no wonder since the app is the official app of the NFL. Speaking of the gaming side, as the name suggests, the app only suits fans of football and doesn’t offer as many options as ESPN fantasy but compensates it with one-of-a-kind features like a player comparison tool and extra detailed statistics, as well as the streaming feature.
Yahoo Fantasy Sports & Daily
Another leader in the industry that has been around for a while and started as a fantasy sports website for NBC Sports. It has quite a number of games to play, both season-long and daily, as well as some unique features like weekly recaps of the player’s team and a super easy player swap out when they are not needed. A perfect app for those who enjoy playing fantasy sports occasionally since Yahoo Sports allows multiple options for quick games.
CBS Sports Fantasy
Players will find all they can think of in the CBS Sports Fantasy, from extended team management and score tracking to performance predictions. Besides being a platform for playing fantasy sports, CBS is also a valuable source of themed information and news for users. They appreciate the platform for quality podcasts covering hot news of the football world.
The app with perhaps the widest range of games to choose from. Aside from the regular fantasy football, baseball and ice hockey, DraftKings allows users to create their own fantasy league for anything: fantasy NASCAR, fantasy cybersports and college sports — these are not what you can meet often. DraftKings involves paid contests and real money and founders are deeply committed to protecting transactions and assuring their integrity.
Now to the hottest part — passing from thinking to action.
How to create a fantasy sports app and website?
Although you can outsource software development, making business decisions is on you. In creating a fantasy sports app, consistency is the key.
Shape the idea
After the competitor overview mentioned above goes the step for shaping your idea. Before you describe it to future developers, answer these vital questions:
What games will your project include? Will it be focused on one game, e.g., fantasy football, or multiple games to choose from?
Will it be a mobile app or a website? If a mobile app, what platforms — iOS, Android, or both?
How will your project stand out from other similar projects? In other words, why players should choose your platform over others?
What is your budget to create your own fantasy sports website/app?
What monetization models are going to be for your project? We will describe some common ones for fantasy sports below.
Find a fantasy sports app development company
How to find a company that knows how to make a fantasy sports app? Googling is always an option. Select a few companies to your liking from search results and then, based on their reviews and case studies (read our article on how to assess an IT company portfolio), make an informed decision. It’s always best to choose one with experience in creating apps in your niche: the more, the better.
Design and development
Requirements are elicited and app development estimate is made, then UX/UI design and actual implementation of features begin. This is the most lengthy step of creating your fantasy sports platform, so be patient and make sure you can afford to synch with the team several times a week to be informed on the progress and give them feedback.
Select a suitable monetization model
Businesses in the field of fantasy sports generate revenue through fees, advertising, and joint ventures with other sports-related businesses. But in addition to these, there are more.
In-app ads. Perhaps the most popular and easiest way to earn money with a mobile app. If it is a website you’re dealing with, replace “in-app ads” with ad banners. You sell an advertising spot to clients and get paid for each view or click. Popular apps make significant money with this advertising method. However, be careful and don’t annoy users with too many ads. Placing one after every action can provoke a massive user churn, no matter how good your fantasy sports app is.
Freemium. This model implies that basic functionality is available for everyone for free while extra features are only available in paid version. Not every feature is the one users are ready to pay for, so advanced functionality should be truly worth user attention. These can be ads removal, spying the opponent team, increased number of teams, etc.
Participation fees. This app monetization method is used in fantasy sports holding cash-prise contests, such as the above-mentioned DraftKings. To participate in a contest, each user is charged an entrance fee, which is partly used for the winner’s reward and the rest becomes the business’s pure profit.
Sponsor fees. Sports is a huge and very competitive industry, so no wonder many brands are looking for opportunities to promote their goods among the targeted demographics. How? Players in the game using branded gear and apparel is the easiest kind of such joint venture. Sports goods providers keep an eye on market newcomers and your app can be the next one they’d want to use as an advertising platform.
Merchandise. As someone related to the sports industry, you know that people can go crazy about their favorite teams sometimes. According to the most recent research by IMARC Group, the global licensed sports merchandise market size reached US $29.9 in 2021. People willingly buy apparel and footwear, accessories and gifts, toys and games with teams’ symbols. In the case of a successful fantasy sports app, adding an eCommerce section can become an additional revenue stream.
How much does it cost to develop a fantasy football app?
Factors affecting the cost of an app are the hourly rate of the developers you hire and the number and complexity of features. While the first is easy to find out (the hourly rate of Anadea’s developers is $50), deciding on a feature set requires a bit more effort. Below is the scope for a fantasy football app MVP and the approximate cost of it if you decide to choose Anadea as a developer.
User native app (iOS/Android)
- Authentication: Sign up; log in; log out; reset password.
- Matches: Browse and select matches and details, manage matches, and filter matches.
- Teams: Create teams; add, customize, and remove players.
- Contests: Create and join contests; invite other players; view results.
- History: Review game and win history, statistics of all and particular games.
- Notifications: Receive announcements of new matches, match cancellations, and other reminders.
- Money withdrawal: See and receive profit via Paytm or a similar service.
Web admin panel
- Authentication: Sign up; log in; log out; reset password.
- Admin dashboard: View statistics for all players, games, and contests.
- User management: View and edit all user information (profile data, rating, earnings).
- Team management: Edit composition and other properties of teams; add and delete teams.
- Notification management: Create/edit/delete notifications and reminders users receive.
Minimum team composition and rates for such a project will be:
- Full-time back-end developer, $7200/month;
- Full-time mobile developer, $7200/month;
- Part-time (approx. 1-month involvement) UX/UI designer, $5600.
Given this, the estimated cost starts from $48K for a fantasy sports MVP with a development period of around 12–14 weeks. Still, every idea needs to be approached individually: the more detail we know, the more precise the estimation is.
The article only covers some common places of fantasy sports website and app development, and there is still a long journey ahead of you. Our developers know how to code a fantasy football app and can guide you through all the steps of creating an appealing and profitable solution that will take its niche in the market and engage a solid fan base. Good luck and see you!