create a sports app

How to Build a Sports App

Estimated read time: 12 minutes

Planning to launch a sports app? This guide on how to build a sports app is just what you need.

You can really make a huge splash in the lucrative market of sports apps if you have the right team in place to develop your idea properly. How do we know this? Well, because our developers and dev teams have built many great apps that are already succeeding in the global marketplace.

Let’s explain the steps on how to develop a sports app.

Build a Sports App

You will follow the following steps to build a sports app successfully:

1. Kick off your project to develop an amazing sports app

Onboard a small team led by a project manager (PM). This team needs a software architect. You also need a few business analysts (BAs) on this team. The activities of this team are as follows:

  • The PM should prepare the overall project plan, furthermore, the PM should lead this team.
  • The architect should also create a technical solution.

2. Review popular sports apps to get app design ideas

The global market of sports technologies is growing. A Knowledge Sourcing Intelligence report states that this market was valued at $17.188 billion in 2019. It projects that this market will grow to $58.946 billion by 2026. The report estimates a CAGR of 19.25% during the 2020-2026 period.

The following are examples of a few popular sports apps:

A. The official app of NBA

The official NBA app is very popular. Users can use it on the web, Android, iOS, and other platforms. It offers all relevant features, e.g.:

  • Live-streaming of games;
  • Live scores;
  • Official NBA schedules;
  • In-game and post-game highlights;
  • A news feature including access to select press conferences and events;
  • Personalized content about favorite teams.

B. ESPN app

The ESPN app is available on the web, Android, iOS, Android TV, Apple TV, and other platforms. This popular app offers the following key features:

  • Live-streaming of popular sports;
  • Live scores;
  • News feature with alerts;
  • Highlights;
  • Podcasts.

3. Analyze and determine the features to offer in a sports app

You should offer the following features in a sports app:


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  • User management;
  • News feature that enables sports enthusiasts to get the key sports news;
  • Schedule of sports events;
  • Real-time data feeds for scores of popular sports;
  • Live-streaming of different sports;
  • A search function to find content regarding the favorite sports of users;
  • Buying tickets for sports events;
  • Buying merchandise concerning favorite teams;
  • Secure payment gateway integration;
  • Sharing content about favorite sports teams and favorite sports on social media;
  • Gamification;
  • Push notifications;
  • Support for offline mode.

4. Document the requirements for the proposed sports app

After gathering the functional and non-functional requirements, you need to document the project specifications. The PM should ensure a thorough review of the requirements. Implement a comprehensive requirements management process.  

5. Decide the features to offer in the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) of your proposed sports app

I recommend you use the Agile software development methodology in this project. Plan to launch a “Minimum Viable Product” (MVP). It’s a functional product, however, it will have fewer features.

You can get early feedback from the market by launching an MVP. Subsequently, you can enhance the app or go back to the drawing board to ensure it is what your users want.

Use our MVP guide to learn more on how to prioritize the app features you develop for your MVP.

6. Formulate an effective software development approach

You need the architect to formulate an effective software development approach. I recommend the following:

  • Use a cloud platform to eliminate the infrastructure management workload.
  • Develop native Android and iOS mobile apps instead of cross-platform apps. Native apps offer superior user experience, performance, and security than cross-platform apps.
  • Strike a balance between using 3rd party APIs (application programming interfaces) and developing your own APIs. Develop your own APIs for the core functionalities that you will offer. Use leading 3rd party APIs for non-core features like live streaming, push notifications, social media integration, payment integration, etc.
  • Design and implement a robust information security solution.

7. Choose a cloud computing platform

Start-ups might not have the funds to invest in a data center. If you are one such entrepreneur, you can use a cloud computing platform to get around this.

Indeed, cloud solutions are becoming the norm for all types of development projects. Popular MCSPs (Managed Cloud Services Providers) like AWS, Google Cloud Platform, and Azure manage the cloud infrastructure. This leaves you to focus on software development.

7a. Choose a PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) to develop the web app

You can use a PaaS platform for web development. PaaS platforms like AWS Elastic Beanstalk manage the cloud infrastructure.

They also manage the operating system, middleware, and runtime environment. They offer services like databases, DevOps tools, API integration, etc. You only need to bring code and data.

7b. Choose an MBaaS (Mobile-Backend-as-a-Service) for sports mobile app development

MBaaS platforms like AWS Amplify manage the cloud infrastructure and persistent storage. This significantly reduces the work required to develop and manage the mobile back-end.

Using an MBaaS platform helps you to implement features like user management and push notifications easily. You can focus on the front-end and business logic.

8. Decide on the technology stack to use

I recommend you use the following technology stack:

8a. Front-end web development

You can use JavaScript to develop the front end of the proposed web app. Your programmers can use JavaScript, HTML, and CSS for this. Many software engineers already know JavaScript.

JavaScript offers a rich ecosystem of open-source frameworks, libraries, and tools. E.g., you can also use popular frameworks like Angular or React.js for front-end development. Your team can use jQuery, a popular JavaScript library.

8b. Back-end web development

Use Node.js for back-end web development. It’s a popular open-source runtime environment for JavaScript, and many developers already know it.

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Node.js helps you to build scalable and performant web apps. Its vibrant community of developers has created many useful open-source Node.js development tools. This increases the productivity of programmers.

8c. Mobile app development: Android

We recommend you use Java to develop the native Android app. This enterprise-grade programming language offers key advantages like performance, security, and a rich ecosystem.

It has been the mainstay of native Android development for a long time. Many Android developers already know Java.

8d. Mobile app development: iOS

Use Swift to develop the planned iOS app. This modern programming language offers powerful features, and developers can gain productivity advantages from using it.

Apple prefers software engineers to use Swift to develop apps for its platforms. Swift helps developers to create performant and scalable apps, and it helps programmers to avoid common programming errors.

8e. Databases

Use MySQL or PostgreSQL if you need an RDBMS (relational database management system). Both are open-source, and both of these SQL databases offer powerful features.

You can use MongoDB or Apache Cassandra if you need a NoSQL database. Both of these open-source databases offer scalability and performance.

8f. API development

I recommend you develop RESTful APIs. REST (Representational State Transfer) is the de-facto standard for API development, and many programmers know it.

8g. 3rd-party APIs/SDKs

You could use the following APIs and/or SDKs (software development kits) for the non-core features:

  • Live streaming: Sports enthusiasts want an excellent live streaming experience. You can use APIs and SDKs from Wowza Systems. Review the Wowza documentation for more information.
  • Bulk SMS for push notifications: You need a bulk SMS service for implementing the push notifications feature. Consider using Twilio. The company offers extensive documentation for its SMS Messaging API.
  • Sharing on social networking apps: Sports fans will want to share content on social networking apps. You can sign-up with OneAll. The company provides the OneAll Social Sharing APIs for sharing content on social media apps. It also provides detailed documentation. 
  • Payment gateway integration: You can sign-up with Stripe to allow the app users to make payments. Check out the Stripe documentation to know how to integrate its APIs and SDKs. 

9. Hire team members

You can now hire your remote developer team. Hire competent people for the following roles:

  • UI (user interface) designers;
  • Web developers;
  • Native Android developers;
  • Native iOS developers;
  • Testers;
  • DevOps engineers.

Should you hire freelancers? Freelance platforms can help you to find developers at a low hourly rate, however, we don’t recommend this approach.

Developing a winning sports app can be hard work. Managing such a project with part-time freelancers can be hard. Freelance platforms don’t provide management support, and you need to find replacements in the case of turnover.

I recommend you hire developers from a trustworthy software development company. Such companies offer full-time developers with the right skills, experience, and motivation. Reputed software development companies provide management support, and they provide replacements.

10. Form a cohesive software development team

I recommend you build a “Scrum development” team. The PM should perform the role of a “Scrum Master” and lead the “Scrum Team”. Scrum teams are cross-functional teams where developers and testers work together.

The team estimates requirements and schedules them in “Sprints”. Sprints are iterations in Scrum parlance. A Scrum team conducts “Daily stand-up meetings” to unearth and resolve project issues.

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They demonstrate the functional app to business users in a “Sprint review meeting”, where they ask for the sprint approval. Scrum teams conduct a lessons-learned exercise named the “Sprint retrospective meeting”, which is held after the Sprint.

11. Design and develop the user interface (UI)

You need to offer the right kind of UX (user experience), so an effective UI is important. The UX design team should consult the UI design rules of thumb for the web app.

What about designing the UI of the sports mobile application? Use the “Material Design” guidelines for Android, and use the “Human Interface Guidelines” for iOS.

12. Develop your own APIs

You need to take the following steps to develop RESTful APIs:

  • Use popular tools like Postman to develop APIs. Use Swagger to document them.
  • Host the APIs on the cloud platform of your choice.
  • Use databases of your choice.
  • Design effective rules for API requests and responses.
  • You need to design the API endpoints smartly.
  • Secure APIs by using authentication, encryption, secure gateways, etc.

13. Implement the planned information security solution

An information security solution for a sports app should include the following:

  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA);
  • Data encryption at rest and in transit;
  • Proactive security and compliance testing.
  • Implement this solution diligently.

14. Develop the web app

Take the following steps to develop the web app:

  • Use a popular IDE (Integrated Development Environment) like the Ecplise of IntelliJ IDEA.
  • Code the app and integrate APIs.
  • Review and test the app.
  • Deploy it by using the DevOps tools provided by the cloud platform you chose.

15. Mobile app development: Android

Do the following to develop the Android app:

  • Use Android Studio, the popular IDE for Android development to code the app.
  • Integrate APIs and SDKs.
  • Review the code.

16. Mobile app development: iOS

You need to do the following for native iOS development:

  • Code the app using Xcode, the IDE to develop apps for Apple’s platforms.
  • You need to integrate APIs and SDKs.
  • Review and app, and test the app using XCTest.

You have just developed your proposed sports app!

Final thoughts

In this guide, I explained the steps required to build a sports app. You need to offer differentiators that make your application stand out in such a competitive market. That can make the project complex, and you might need help.

If you don’t have the expertise in your existing team or need a development team, then contact DevTeam.Space. A dedicated account manager will get back to you to answer your questions and show you why our developers are the best choice.

FAQs on How to Build a Sports App

1. What are some of the best sports apps?

“NBA: Live Games & Scores” is an excellent sports app. You can follow live sports using it, and you can track the live score. “ESPN Live Sports and Scores” is great too. If you want sports betting app, then check out “DraftKings Sportbook”. Explore CBS Fantasy Sports if you want a fantasy sports app.

2. What does it take to create a great app catering to the sports industry?

You need to plan your software development project very well. You also need a highly competent team to build a sports app successfully. Such a team can bring in those differentiators that will make your app stand out in the market. Look for a trustworthy sports app development company to hire such a team.

3. I have a great sports app idea. Can DevTeam.Space provide developers for my project to build a sports app?

DevTeam.Space has supported many start-ups and enterprises to implement their software development ideas. We have highly skilled, experienced, and motivated developers. We also provide comprehensive project management support, which helps entrepreneurs considerably.


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