If there was ever a slogan that proved to be truly prophetic it was Apple’s There’s an app for that. A decade after they shrewdly patented the catchphrase, it holds as true today as it ever did. With smartphone penetration hovering around 85 percent of the adult population, we use apps for anything and everything.
Of course, back in the early days of there’s an app for that, there were plenty who said we should spend less time fiddling with gadgets and more on traditional pastimes like sport. These days, though, sports fans need their apps as much as anyone – here are our must-haves for the 2020s.
The global sports network has become a poster child for how to get ahead in the digital age. Prior to the internet revolution, it was something of an also-ran in the TV sports network stakes. But while the likes of Fox eyed the online revolution with suspicion, ESPN invested heavily and has become the go-to resource for fans of every sport under the sun.
ESPN’s coverage of everything from the most popular sports like Premier League football, cricket, NFL and NBA to fringe sports like field hockey, lacrosse and pool is second to none. The app is every bit as comprehensive as the site and updates for 2020 are focused on growth areas like live streaming and eSport coverage.
Online sports betting is big business these days, and there are numerous bookmaker apps to choose from. But the oddschecker app is a vital resource for sports enthusiasts – even those who never plan on placing a bet. It’s got all the inside information from the major bookies on who are the favourites and outsiders in every sport imaginable.
If you want expert opinions on who are the dark horses for Euro 2020, whether anyone can challenge Mercedes in F1 or even which Premier League manager is likely to be fired next, this is the place to find out. The app is incredibly user-friendly and like ESPN, Oddschecker covers an amazing array of different sports. If you decide that you do wish to place a bet, it has the added benefit of lining up the odds being offered by all the major bookmakers. You can even connect with them directly from the app to make your wager.
The BBC might have something of a staid and old-fashioned image, but its online offerings are right up to date. In fact, it’s fair to say that ESPN aside, the US networks could learn plenty from the BBC’s approach to digital technology.
The BBC Sport app is as user-friendly as you would expect and covers a wide range of sports. It also benefits from some of the best-known and well-respected journalists around. The tie-in with other BBC products like iPlayer means this is one of the best sports platforms for video content, podcasts and radio commentary. Just keep in mind that access to many of these features is restricted to UK-based users who possess a BBC television license, although there is also a wealth of international content that is accessible to all.
Sometimes, the classics are the best. You’ll find no shortage of apps to choose from that bring up to the minute scores, but it is something that LiveScore has been doing online for more than 20 years. The latest update to its app eschews cutting edge add-ons like live streams and sticks to what it does best. For a no-nonsense app that’s easy to navigate and clearly presented, you need look no further.
Livescore made its name as a site for football results, but these days, it also brings you up to date scores and results in cricket, tennis, basketball, hockey and several other sports.
Yahoo Fantasy Sport
Fantasy leagues have graduated from geekdom to the mainstream over the past decade. Yahoo’s app is a great all-rounder for fantasy sports fans, with comprehensive coverage of the main football, baseball, hockey and basketball leagues. There’s enough data in there to provide all you need, but not so much that it will deter newcomers.
If you’ve not tried fantasy sport before, this is a great way in. Whether you want to join an existing league, set up one of your own or simply watch what’s happening from the sidelines, Yahoo Fantasy Sport provides a useful one stop shop.
If your passion is for American sports, chances are you’ve already heard of Bleacher Report. This is another app that has been around for a while, but it is regularly updated and improved to keep it up there among the very best.
One of the best features of this app is the level to which you can customise the content it delivers. So if you’re only interested in news on a particular sport, league or even team, you can set up the homepage accordingly and it will deliver you tailored content and notifications. You can even sync the app with your fantasy team accounts to get all the information in one place.
Bleacher Report has also gone a step ahead of the rest in terms of its social media presence. This makes it a great choice if you like to chew the fat about your sport of choice with like minded people – and maybe engage in some good natured exchanges of view with fans of opposing teams!
Finally, this is one for those at the cutting edge, where sport and tech truly come together. eSport is already a huge phenomenon in Asia, and it’s starting to hit the mainstream in the west, too.
Other sports apps are reacting to the rise of eSport by including it in their portfolio, especially the likes of ESPN. But Strafe boasts everything eSport on one app. It might not be as catchy as there’s an app for that, but in 10 years time, there’s every chance that we will look back on it as being just as significant a step in technological evolution.