In a Q2 report of our Fastest Growing Apps platform, we showed how sports apps are becoming a major attraction for mobile users - a go-to place for consuming and engaging with sports content thanks, in part, to 2016’s shift towards live video streaming on mobile.
In January 2017, four teams remained to battle it out on the field for the Vince Lombardi trophy on February 6th. Jumping to today, and at the end of football season it’s down to the Patriots and the Falcons.
Behind the scenes, however, these teams were also battling it out to win on mobile. The apps of the final four teams New England Patriots, Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers have become more popular in the past 3 months as the big game draws closer. Let’s take a closer look at the game stats in the Google Play Store in the US:
|Field Rank||Google Play Rank|
|New England Patriots (finalists)||23|
|Atlanta Falcons (finalists)||38|
|Green Bay Packers||122|
|As of 31/01//2017|
As in real life, the two teams at the top of the ranking are the two that have made it to the final game - perhaps reflecting the impact a team’s success can have on volume of app installs. Currently the New England Patriots are winning the app race with the highest ranking of the 5 teams in the sports category. The Atlanta Falcons, still in the running for the trophy, are also a digital force to be reckoned with, coming in a close second.
The Green Bay Packers - a powerhouse on the pitch but no longer able to take the trophy - are a little less formidable on mobile, with a lower ranking than the other 4. Competition between the 5 teams is very close - there’s everything to play for in this app race with 7 days to go.
Turning fans into users
All 5 teams are monetizing their apps with ads, and the Patriot’s app is also offering IAPs (such as a sticker keyboard to better express team spirit), and users can purchase team merchandise through the app. This is a smart play. Sports logo apparel takes in billions of dollars a year in the US. As mobile becomes a more integral part of consumers’ purchase journeys, leveraging this channel is an imperative.
How can sport teams turn their fans into users? Common features of sports teams apps are exclusive content, real-time breaking news, VOD content, and stats and schedules of upcoming games - all useful and interesting things for a fan.
Mobile has the potential to be a lucrative revenue stream for sports apps, especially for those that work to provide special content, such as live video coverage. Partnerships between networks and teams that provide unique, live content for their fans via the team’s app might soon be a common reality. Score!
Sports teams looking to win off the field as well as on will need to adjust their growth strategies to reflect the fact that mobile users are spending more time in-app. It’s likely we’ll see more resources spent on content for sports apps in order to provide more value to fans. Most importantly, a well-developed sports app will serve as an opportunity for sports teams and organizations to further monetize their fan base through IAPs and ads. In some ways, a fan is just a high-LTV user waiting to happen, and sports teams can leveraging their existing loyalty to drive engagement with the brand in a mobile context.
If we're going by the app rankings, the New England Patriots will win this year’s Super Bowl. But with a few days to go, there’s everything to play and click for...