To feel the vibe of real competitions and enjoy the spirit of victory, today sports lovers do not need to become athletes or coaches. Fantasy sports can be almost as exciting as traditional games in the arena. You just need to choose your strategy, assemble your own fantasy team, track the performance of real-life prototypes of your players, and enjoy your results. Some decades ago, such matches were organized by newspapers and magazines, and points were calculated manually. Today, with a wide range of relevant software products, everything is much easier.
In one of our previously published blog posts, we talked about the creation of fantasy sports apps in general. Now we'd like to focus on fantasy football app development and share a series of helpful, practical tips, based on our experience.
What is a fantasy football application?
Let’s start with a basic explanation of this concept. A fantasy football app is a game where you act as an owner of a virtual team. You can create your own squad that will be composed of real football players of the chosen league. Thanks to this approach you can create an absolutely unique group of athletes.
Based on the performance of your team players in real games, you will score points and compete against other app users. In other words, your rivals will be other owners of virtual teams.
Fantasy football apps: Market overview
Let’s start with looking at the fantasy sports market in general, which is projected to expand from almost $27 billion in 2023 to $49.5 billion by 2028 — a CAGR of nearly 13% from 2023 to 2028.
Football is one of the most popular fantasy sports types, and North America is a leader in the fantasy football market. Almost 80% of North American fantasy sports players prefer football.
According to the available data, in the 2021-2022 season, more than 9.1 million users worldwide played the Fantasy Premier League. Meanwhile, in 2023, one of the major fantasy sports companies globally, ESPN Fantasy, revealed that it had set a new record with over 12 million users playing fantasy football — a 10% increase year-over-year.
Experts believe interest in fantasy football will continue growing amid the increasing number of available apps and innovations.
Types of fantasy football applications
Giving users the chance to have fun and enjoy victory is one of the key goals of any fantasy sports solution. Even though that’s the common goal of all such applications, there are lots of variations depending on the type of league where players can compete. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular ones.
- Fantasy football PPR. In this league, in each scoring period, players match up against different opponents. Every player in the starting lineup will get points for each reception.
- Draft leagues. In this type of league, users can play with their friends as opponents. Each user creates a team of 15 players, picking them in turns over 15 rounds. This means nobody is allowed to choose two or more players at once.
- Draft-only leagues. Such leagues do not involve in-season roster management. Users create their teams and stick with the same team till the end of the season.
- Best ball leagues. In this case, there are no weekly lineups.The selection of the best possible lineup for each team is conducted automatically.
- Public leagues. These leagues are open to everyone in the world. You can play with absolutely anyone after joining any of the available public leagues. However, usually, the number of participants is limited.
- Dynasty leagues. In this type of league, an app user will own the same team from year to year. This approach can be a good idea for a group of friends who have similar interests and want to be involved in a common multi-year activity.
Key features of fantasy football apps
When you have a plan for a fantasy football app development project, you need to think about ways to make it unique and attractive for players. Nevertheless, there are some basic features that can’t be left out of any application of this type.
- Sign up and log in. This is the first feature new users will interact with. Given this fact, it’s important to make all the functions as straightforward as possible. We recommend adding options to log in with the help of an email address, phone number, or social media account.
- User profile. In this section, users should be able to view data such as the list of leagues they participate in, their referrals, rewards, etc.
- Athlete/football player info. Here, users should have access to the details of every player. Based on that information, they can make decisions regarding the composition of their teams.
- Leagues. This feature allows users to view a list of available leagues and join them.
- League creation. You can also provide users with a tool to create their own leagues to enjoy the game with their families and friends.
- Team management. It’s essential to build a feature that lets users introduce changes to their teams in accordance with their winning strategies.
- Rewards points. Points are received whenever team players turn in a good performance in real life.
- Payments. Your app should be enriched with a reliable tool for transferring cash prizes to users’ bank accounts.
Higher user satisfaction will result when you develop some extra features. For example:
- AI-powered analytics tools. Add to general information about real-life player performance some AI predictions for their future results. You can also offer users a premium tool to help them to develop a winning strategy.
- Social features. You can add features such as chats or forums that let users communicate with others, discuss match results, and share their impressions.
- News feed. A section that compiles all the latest news from the world of football has a high chance of gaining popularity among users. You can also make it customizable so users can design personalized experiences.
Fantasy football app development challenges
If you are familiar with software development, you already know there are plenty of potential pitfalls to navigate around in developing any tech product. With fantasy sports, these include:
- Traffic and load spikes. A successful fantasy sports app is expected to attract a huge number of concurrent users on match days. For football apps, that will typically be Sundays. That’s why it’s vital to choose a data platform that can support as many users at the same time as possible. This helps minimize the risk of app failures and downtime during spikes in traffic.
- Real-time game joins. For fantasy football matches, you’ll need to count and limit players in real-time in accordance with the set restrictions. Data inconsistencies may make it possible to take fees from users who aren’t able to actually join the game. Also, issues with real-time data processing can lead to problems with leaderboards not showing up and being updated immediately. Developers need to consider this aspect and choose reliable tools for organizing data processing.
- Fast payments to winners. To provide an excellent user experience, you need to make sure players get their winning amounts immediately after the match. We recommend carefully analyzing different payment processing tools to avoid situations where unhappy users start looking for a similar app that doesn’t experience payment delays.
Have an idea for a fantasy football app?
You can always rely on us for all the tasks related to software development and its further support and maintenance!
How to build a fantasy football app
If you plan to build a fantasy football solution, you need to have a good understanding of how this process should be organized in order not to miss any important steps.
Concept creation and market research
At this stage, you’ll need to sketch out your idea for your future solution. Define your target audience, choose the football league, decide on the functionality of your app, and choose your monetization strategy. It’s important to research the market and analyze the solutions provided by your key competitors. Consider their fantasy football apps from the perspective of users, to think about what features to include that would make your product better than the existing ones.
Search for a development team
If you don’t have the in-house resources to build an app, you can establish cooperation with a software development company that has the relevant skills and expertise to realize your project.
Once you choose the company and start working with developers, share your precise requirements for the project with them. Based on these requirements, experts will develop the right approach to building your solution and will be able to set timeframes for your product release.
Design and development
This is a core stage of the project, which requires a lot of skills and effort on the part of developers, designers, and other team members. Quite often, we advise our clients to start with an MVP, a demonstration of the basic features that will allow you to check the idea without incurring serious financial risks. If the idea is well accepted by end users, you can proceed to creating a full-scale product.
While some types of tests should be performed in parallel with development to detect and fix bugs as soon as possible, it’s also important to perform regression testing after your solution is ready. This helps developers see whether everything works as it is supposed to and that no previous updates had a negative impact on the app’s functionality.
Once it’s ready, your app should be made publicly available. Mobile apps can be published on marketplaces where users can easily download them.
After the launch, it is important to monitor the performance of your application and address all the vulnerabilities. We recommend that you regularly gather user feedback, to introduce improvements and updates.
Cost of fantasy football app development
At Cogniteq, we have rich expertise in sports software development and a diverse range of finished projects. Each project requires different skills, resources, and efforts. These differences will influence the amount of time needed to accomplish various tasks as well as the cost of your project.
Even within one group of software solutions, such as fantasy football apps, for example, budgets will vary based on features, integrations, and the technologies chosen.
Let’s briefly summarize what factors should be taken into account for cost estimation:
- Type of your app;
- Complexity of the project;
- Scope of work;
- Project duration;
- Rates of developers;
- Size and composition of your development team;
- Desired functionality;
- Required integrations;
- Tech stack.
When you are planning to launch a fantasy football application, ask the development team to provide you with project estimates to help you plan your budget and analyze whether you are ready for such investments at the moment.
Fantasy football app development tech stack
Usually, the tech stack for a project is chosen after developers have studied all the requirements shared by a customer. Some unique features you plan to build for your app may require the use of specific tools. However, based on our practical experience, we can share a list of tools and technologies that are often selected for fantasy football app development projects.
- Back-end development: Java, Python, PHP
- Mobile development: Kotlin, Java, Swift, Objective-C, Flutter, Xamarin, React Native
- Cloud platform: SAP, Microsoft Azure, AWS, Google Cloud
- Payments: Stripe, PayPal, PayUMoney, e-wallets
- Push notifications: Apple Push Notification, Twilio
- Database: MongoDB, Mysql, PostgreSQL
Fantasy football solutions attract users of different ages and from different social groups. They provide engaging experiences and allow users to have fun by competing with their friends or randomly chosen people from all over the world.
Though today there are quite a lot of apps available, given the popularity of such software, a new fantasy football application still has the capacity to win an impressive market share. However, to achieve such results, you need to deliver a high-quality and reliable app that fully meets the industry standards. And a professional development company like Cogniteq can help you with this task. Just share your ideas with us and our experts will help you to transform them into a splendid solution that will wow the market.