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Fantasy Sports App: The 5 Essential Guiding Principles of Success

February 8, 2017

Fantasy sports apps are witnessing a meteoric rise in popularity and the industry statistics clearly demonstrate that. According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA), 57.4 million people played fantasy sports in the USA and Canada in 2016, out of which 39% used a mobile device to play on. Their data also reveals that an average player spends $556 annually on fantasy sports. Now, that’s a lot of money involved. Regardless of any legal or regulatory concerns, fantasy sports has become a high-stakes opportunity for both fans and brands. No wonder some of the major sports leagues want in on this billion dollar lucrative market.


I’m sure you’ll agree that little engages fans like fantasy sports. But why? What makes fantasy sports so enjoyable and engaging that it has become the booming marketplace it is today? There are some features and concepts that are universal to all fantasy sports apps, but some do it better than others. Here’s an overview of some of the reasons fantasy sports apps are exploding, and some advice on how you can tap into this ever-expanding marketplace.


The obvious one. I’ve experienced the joy myself. Whether it is a season-long commitment where you draft a full team at a bar with your buddies or do so nightly or weekly on your phone from your couch, fantasy sports is downright fun. The more engaging, clean-looking and user friendly your app is, the more traffic and users it will draw. ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ holds little meaning here. Regardless of the app features or type, when people log in, they don’t want to be confused or overwhelmed. But, there are some users who are looking for many options in their fantasy sports world; they want variety in profile options, sports, leagues, stats, leaderboards and betting varieties, and will utilize many if not all of these features while others are looking for a more streamlined service. Whichever you choose, remember, it is a beauty contest, so stay organized and keep your user entertained by giving them what they want!


Ever take out your phone 20 times within the same hour at work or school only to see the same Facebook or Instagram posts over and over? We all do this. We do this to escape. Even though it lacks high level brain stimulation, it allows you to stop the task at hand, if only for a minute. Successful fantasy sports apps have mastered this art of distraction. From the notifications that buzz in our pockets that give us fresh stats, injury updates or betting lines to the design of custom games, they create a need to check even without a notification because the quicker you have the latest news, the faster you can make an informed decision that may lead to your victory. We escape the worlds of work, school and chores to enter a world where we believe that our fantasy team lineup decisions are of utmost importance. We become the GM for the team we’ve always wanted. Make the escape become that fantasy.


With the changing fantasy sports market where daily and weekly fantasy sports leagues are ruling the market, instant gratification has come to the fore as one of the most important features a fantasy sports app can have. The allocation of bonus cash and referral money makes the instant satisfaction even easier to achieve by giving its users “free money.” The entry fee for fantasy sports leagues can be customized and can range from $1 to the thousands. But, you could easily turn $1 into a few hundred or even a few thousand if you’re lucky by joining a larger public community league (hint: you should have those too). Victories are motivating. Whether they are over your friends or total Internet strangers, winning is always fun (especially if it involves money!)

Social Interaction

Another big draw for fantasy sports apps is their social media/interaction platform. How nice and easy is it to set up a private league with my friends? How easy and nice is it for me to message members of my league about a trade request? Will I be able to message multiple people at the same time to create some kind of a three-way trade? How clear are the leaderboards and statistics to understand and share? These are questions that pop into the seasoned fantasy sports users’ mind when they are looking at apps. Users want a clean interface that allows them to share information and chat easily about upcoming games. Checking out how many people (and what people for that matter) are in a league can help a user determine whether the entry fee will be worth it by estimating the payout (that’s a cool feature, DraftKings!). Easily gloating on social media about your win is a must, so a connection to Facebook and other social media outlets is essential as well.


No, not like the FBI, but more like sports geek stuff. Real-time data is real-time important. As we discussed in the previous section, having a variety of data to analyze is key to making your users feel as if they have the tools they need to make informed decisions. When users feel like the game is totally in their control (which they will with strong surveillance features), they’ll feel it is less of a gamble and more of a skill. And honestly, it kind of is. By looking at trends, injuries, or statistics against a particular opponent, users feel knowledgeable enough to make data-driven decisions that could impact the outcome of your fantasy sports game. So yeah, have lots of that data stuff.

Our team at July Rapid has been pushing the envelope when it comes to the fantasy league experience on mobile. Our relationships with CBS Sports, the NFL and other large sports and media conglomerates has helped us build multiple applications (for iPhone, iPad, Android) where fantasy leagues were the core engine. Today, we are able to serve our sports-focused customers with fantasy league requirements through our:

  • Deep understanding of the fantasy ecosystem, third-party partner landscape and feature cues that create engagement and gratification
  • Data-driven knowledge of UX design within different fantasy leagues
  • Experience in API sources and the integrations involved in aggregating data from multiple providers

Feel free to get in touch if you want our help in the sports fantasy league space, or if you have any questions!

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