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How do sports apps businesses work in 2021?

Do you need to do something? There is probably an app for that. Apps are everywhere nowadays; on our smartphones, our computers, tablets and even on your FireTV stick. One of the biggest categories of apps available are sports apps, and these come in all different shapes and sizes. From offering you live score updates to allowing you to stream and watch live events. But how do sports apps businesses work? How do they actually make money when so many of them are free?

Well, we’re going to have a little look into that just now.

What sports apps do

To kick things off, let us have a little look at what the majority of sports apps have to offer. As I stated above, many offer services such as live score updates or the ability to watch certain events, which is great. But they’re not all about tracking professional sports, you can also get personal apps that will help track your own fitness. From basic apps where you enter your own data to keep track of your progress, to apps that will use GPS to see how far you’ve run, calculate calories burned and monitor your heart rate through wearable smart devices.


But it’s not just information and fitness apps available. Online Bookmakers have also adapted to the mobile industry, offering apps to allow you to place bets on your favourite sports as well. 


How do they operate and make money?


Well, when it comes to the sportsbooks mentioned above, it’s obvious how they make money. People place bets, and yes some will win, but many will lose. So they can afford to make their apps free because they know it’ll be a money-making machine for them due to the accessibility the app offers. But how do others make money from free apps?


The main way many free apps make money is through adverts. You may get videos pop up in the app, or you’ll see adverts embedded into it. They’ll earn a small commission from people seeing those adverts, but more if people click through. There may even be more earned if people buy something through those adverts, which brings me to the next way they make money, affiliate links.


Many apps will suggest or promote using certain websites or stores, and they’ll use affiliate links for this. These are links that will track where people came from and if they make a purchase, then they will give the source website that sent them a commission on any sales. To be successful with this you need to be a reasonably established app with a strong following, and if that’s the case, it helps keep the app free as long as earnings are high.


You can get rid of the adverts sometimes though, and this is another way for free apps to earn money. They’ll accept payment to remove them for you, often a one-off price, but they don’t mind because you’ve paid them to do it so they still make money. This does then make it a paid-for app, but it does give people a chance to try it all for free first to see if they like it which isn’t too bad.


The final way apps make money is when they’re not free, and charge either a price for download or a subscription price, very much like if you paid for Netflix. These apps tend to be more premium, offering more features, and therefore make people seem to think they[‘re worth the money. You’ll find this with a lot of sports apps, especially news sources, as they look for people to subscribe to access their content. Whether you do that or not is up to you, but you’ll normally be able to find free alternatives to the paid ones if you look hard enough.


Some of our favourite sports apps


Now you know what sports apps do, and how they operate as businesses to make money, how about a quick list of some of our favourite sports apps to go with this?


  • FlashScore – A great free app that allows you to track results from thousands of events across the globe in real-time. You can get everything from Baseball to Football, and Badminton to MMA there. They even provide live commentary on some events, ideal if you can’t watch because of work.

  • The Athletic – This is a paid-for subscription app, although you can normally get a free trial. It’s essentially a newspaper, but revolving fully around sports. They have some great exclusives and the quality of writing is really high. If you buy a paper for sports anyway, this is worth looking at instead.

  • YouTube – Ok, so not officially a sports app, but one that is great to have for sports. Many teams or individuals you follow will have their own channels and upload highlights of games, exclusive behind the scenes footage and more. It offers you a chance to get closer than ever before to the sports you love.


Hopefully, this has helped you understand the world of sports apps a little more than you did previously, and maybe our suggestions will be of use to you as well. If you think you have some better apps available you think our audience may like to hear about, why not let us know what they are and why you like them in the comments below.


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