Alexa Serra  ·  March 15, 2022 

Sports App Development With Sportmonks’ APIs

Obtaining data via an API is critical for the proper functioning of any mobile app. However, in the case of sports apps, it is a hundred times more important for developers to bolster data-gathering via APIs such as those provided by SportMonks.

Obtaining data via an API is critical for the proper functioning of any mobile app. However, in the case of sports apps, it is a hundred times more important for developers to bolster data-gathering via APIs such as those provided by SportMonks.

Picture this. It’s the weekend, and you’re enjoying a pleasant afternoon watching your favorite football team play a match…and they’re winning! And, a couple of seconds after they score that desired goal, you get a notification from your favorite sports app informing you that your team just scored! Not only that, but it also gives you instant updates with all the data concerning the goal, real-time game statistics, team figures, leading scorers, and even the scoring player’s biography. Yes, it happens that fast. But how do they do it? Is there someone working around the clock and manually sending notifications as soon as goals happen? Can you imagine? Not a chance. Those instant notifications and updates don’t just happen to flutter away into your phone by chance. They happen thanks to Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). And, more specifically, in the case of your beloved sports app, they happen thanks to APIs provided by platforms like SportMonks.

If you’re an experienced app developer, you probably already know this, but for the rest of us, APIs and their existence aren’t common knowledge. They work behind the scenes to grant us access to countless transactions, updates, data sets, and information that our everyday apps display but APIs enable. In the case of sports apps, which have become increasingly popular with users spending over 50 minutes per day on them, APIs are the enchantresses behind the magic of getting instant notifications and real-time game stats. This immediacy has bolstered sports mobile app development practices worldwide. It has driven developers to build even more innovative and robust sports apps powered by an ever-growing availability of sports API providers.

Today, we’ll discuss how one of these sports API providers, SportMonks, works behind the scenes to power sports app development and deliver instant football, Formula 1, and cricket match updates and stats. Let’s take a look.

What is SportMonks?

What is SportMonks?

If you already know what we’re talking about, then you’re probably thinking there’s nothing new to APIs. You know how they work. You know what they do. What’s new here? Well, here’s the thing about sports data. Sports apps, as opposed to other app types, like marketplace or FinTech, sports apps need to collect, process, share, and store real-time data, which can be very complex due to said data’s dynamic, unpredictable nature. As a result, sports APIs need to be extra efficient and fast; otherwise, they would lose their “real-time” nature and would be practically useless. Here’s where companies like SportMonks come in.

Launched in 2016 by two sports fanatics located in the Netherlands, SportMonks is a data provider for football, Formula 1, cricket matches, and other sports-related events. The company provides this very reliable sports data via a fast, scalable, and easy to implement API, with their football (or soccer) API being their most popular and widely used one. They offer a wide variety of sports data that ranges from live match scores and player statistics to bookmakers, predictions, news, and historical data for over 1,300 leagues with over 60 data points! Moreover, their APIs are designed to be used in all sorts of scenarios, including iGaming, media reporting, fantasy football apps, and sports apps. They are even helpful for amateur sports enthusiasts who want to dabble in application building or any other case where they might need sports data.

Its two founders, Jur and Ronnie, started out by developing a fantasy football website working from a small shed in their home country without any real direction or idea of where they were going. The business started growing, but they soon realized that it was nearly impossible to gather high-quality real-time sports data at affordable prices. Data suppliers either sold cheap but terrible data or excellent but insanely expensive football data. Seeing that they had a complex data sourcing issue, Jur and Ronnie decided to figure out a way to gather the data themselves, and, once both had the hang of it, they started selling it, giving their customers the best value for their money. And just like that, SportMonks was born.

For almost seven years now, SportMonks has successfully tapped into the valuable niche market of high-quality sports data sourcing. In fact, by the end of the year 2020, they had already amassed over 17.000 user accounts and had become one of the most trusting football data suppliers on the market. They also started offering cricket and Formula 1 data, growing their business exponentially and delivering fast, real-time, highly valuable data to scouts, hobbyists, journalists, sports data partners, everyday users, and app developers worldwide.

How does SportMonks work?

How does SportMonks work?

SportMonks use well-structured and efficient APIs to connect these data points to any mobile or web sports application that deals with real-time data and other types of historical or relevant sports information. As a result, SportMonks can quickly provide real-time and instant data feeds to deliver live score updates, fixtures, standings, game highlights, news, rankings, and much more. Additionally, SportMonks APIs allow users to customize their requests and filter and sort the incoming data how they want it. This way, by using simple commands, you can receive the data you wish to the way you want it and leave out any unnecessary information you don’t need. As a result, you’re left with only the information your users find helpful, bringing efficiency levels up and increasing the quality of your product’s user experience. In their own words:

Our API’s flexibility demonstrates itself by allowing its users to build their own responses in the form of adding include parameters to their requests. This means you can request the data you need and leave out the data you don’t need.

SportMonks APIs are extremely fast and flexible and perform their job optimally thanks to them being JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) APIs. Unlike REST APIs, which deal with more requests and more data volume, JSON APIs are designed to optimize HTTP requests making them more efficient and small and improving the size of data packages. They also eliminate the need to write a specific code for each application and communication highway. As a result, JSON APIs are more customizable and reduce the amount of data transmitted, making them more suitable for sports data filtering, storing, and structuring. They also allow you only to request the data you need by enabling the implementation of filtering and sorting commands, leaving out unnecessary information that might make your app heavier. In that sense, SportMonks APIs are perfect for sports app development.

But, how do the people at SportMonks collect and manage all that data? The SportMonks Scout Application Platform (SSAP) is SportMonks’ methodology for gathering, storing, managing, and sharing all the data that makes their APIs so efficient and helpful. They have a team of scouts that work worldwide to validate all the data collected by the company and make sure it is reliable, up-to-date, and on par with the standards of the sports, gaming, and app development industries.

Lastly, SportMonks users have access to historical sports data that stretches all the way back to 2005 and different pricing packages and plans with varying numbers of API calls depending on their needs:

  • Free Plan: users have access to 180 API calls and one endpoint.
  • European Plan: for a monthly fee of EUR25, users have access to 2000 API calls per hour per endpoint for over 20 European leagues.
  • Worldwide Plan: for a monthly fee of EUR89, users have access to 2000 API calls per hour per endpoint for over 20 European leagues and 100 worldwide leagues.
  • Pro Plan: for EUR125, users have access to 2000 API calls per hour per endpoint for over 20 European leagues and 500 worldwide leagues.
  • Enterprise Plan: For developers and other professionals who need more data in large quantities. It offers access to over 1,300 leagues with unlimited API calls and personalized pricing depending on the user’s needs and specifications.

Sports app development with SportMonks’ APIs

Sports app development with SportMonks’ APIs

So, how can you use SportMonks’ APIs to develop your very own sports app? As with any other type of app, you must conduct thorough user research and define your user journeys to precisely understand what your users want and develop for them. A fantasy football app’s user profile isn’t the same as that of a sports betting app or a statistics app, so knowing your users and their needs is the first step to establish how you will be using SportMonks’ APIs for your products’ development. Still, most sports apps have certain standard features inherent to them that you should consider adding to make a robust, durable, and successful sports app. Here are some of them.

  • Log in: A critical starting place for your new sports app is implementing a secure way to let your users log into their accounts. Even if you are developing a simple app with minimal personal data requirements, it is still crucial to set in place some sort of user authentication. Two-factor or Multi-factor authentication is usually enough to secure your users’ accounts and their personal information.

  • User profile: Giving your users a chance to establish their profile that contains confidential information and their favorite teams and sports can help you tailor a better user experience and increase your app’s engagement rates.

  • Newsfeed: Even if you’re not strictly developing a news app, adding a sports news feed can be a great way to keep your users updated and give them crucial information about their in-app behavior. However, it is paramount to keep the news focused on your user’s needs and preferences (hence the importance of a user profile) to avoid giving them useless information.

  • Push notifications: In sports apps, notifications are crucial to keeping your users up to speed on the latest sporting events and, in the case of fantasy football apps, for instance, inform them to help them make better in-app decisions. Still, make sure all notifications are always relevant and in line with your user’s interests to avoid annoying them and creating new pain points.

  • Real-time score updates and analytics: One of the most essential features, especially for football fans, real-time score updates and stats help significantly improve the user experience, and here’s where Sportmonks’ APIs excel. Suppose you’re developing a sports statistics or a betting app, for instance. In that case, real-time score updates are essential to provide your users with first-hand information of what is happening in-game, especially for those users who, for whatever reason, don’t have access to live TV or streaming services.

  • Payment features: In some cases, like in betting or gaming sports apps, adding a secure and efficient payment feature is essential to fully deliver your app’s benefits. It will also help give your users access to exclusive content they may not get in free apps.M

Sports app development ideas with SportMonks APIs

Now that you know what SportMonks is, how it works, and what features you can include in your SportMonks-powered sports app, you have all the tools to start gauging ideas to develop your product. As we said earlier, there are many types of sports apps, and all of them have different requirements and integrations, so you must choose well and have a clear understanding of what you’re building and for whom. Here are some ideas to help you integrate SportMonks’ APIs and get the ball rolling in your sports app development endeavors.

Fantasy sports app

Fantasy sports apps are one of the most popular sports app categories globally. In fact, research shows that, in the US, the fantasy sports market was worth $7.22 billion in 2019, a figure that must have indeed risen in the past couple of years, with experts predicting the market to reach almost $50 billion by 2027! But what are fantasy sports apps? The fundamental concept behind fantasy sports apps is to provide a platform where users can select real players, commonly referred to as a draft, and create fantasy teams that participate in real games and tournaments against other users’ fantasy teams. Users can hire, lend, trade, and fire players from their teams in the search to assemble the perfect team that can win cups and beat everyone else’s roster. Moreover, the central and most challenging part of fantasy sports apps is real-game statistics. Apps compile these statistics and allow users to track how their teams perform and can draw parallels and analyze different in-game data to gauge how their fantasy team is performing and whose team performs the best.

Fantasy football apps are one of the leading and most popular applications for SportMonks APIs. If you decide to go with a fantasy sports app, here’s an overview of how you could use SportMonks’ APIs to develop your app.

  • Choose your leagues: The first step in creating your fantasy sports app using Sportmonks is choosing the participating leagues. Since they offer data on over 1200 leagues, you can select only one and play as a big, global league, or you can choose multiple leagues and “mix and match” as you see fit, depending on your users and your product. You can request all the leagues that apply to you based on your plan using their leagues endpoint.

  • Gather your data: To power your app, you need data, and SportMonks provide that data via different endpoints that depend on the type of data you need. For example, you have an endpoint for season statistics data and one for participating team and players data. Additionally, you can also implement guidelines on player selection, the value of players, the maximum number of players for one team, and limits on starting budget.

  • Assign a points system: You can decide how your fantasy sports app’s pointing system will work. SportMonks allow you to select a point system based on starting team, minutes played, game stats, and games won.

Aggregator sports app

Aggregator sports apps, also known as sports news apps, are mobile products that aggregate all kinds of news, updates, and other relevant information about a particular sport. For example, there are team sports apps that only gather data about one team (e.g., the Manchester United or Barcelona app). There are also sports aggregator apps that handle data regarding numerous teams and different sports. These types of apps handle sports or team-related news, real-time scores, historical and recent data, team stats, standings, and information on current and past championships and cups. Depending on the type of app, they might also feature interviews with players, biographies, expert opinions and commentaries, coach interviews, and other relevant, up-to-date information on everything that influences the sports world.

If you decide to go with an aggregator sports app, SportMonks has a wide variety of APIs you can use to strengthen your new sports app and enhance its user experience. Depending on your pricing plan, here are some of the most interesting ones you can use:

  • Football API: With SportMonks football API, you have access to live scores, schedules, statistics, fixtures, line-ups, historical data, bookmakers, TV stations and radio commentaries, top scorers, game highlights, news, and odds. Depending on your plan, you also have access to information and updates from more than 1300 leagues in over 240 countries. Additionally, the SportMonks platform runs 24/7, so you have constant worldwide coverage.

  • Predictions API: SportMonks claims to have a team of data scientists and experts that leverage cutting-edge technologies such as machine learning algorithms to develop advanced statistical models that help them predict the outcome of most football matches. You can quickly implement the predictions API for over 930 leagues.

  • Football news API: SportMonks offers a news API to give your users access to the latest news written by professional sports journalists. You can customize the news you need for your app and select only the information relevant to your users’ preferences. However, SportMonks news API only covers European league teams meaning you will only have integrations with news from the Champions League, Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A, and Ligue 1.

  • Cricket and Formula 1 APIs: If you want your app to aggregate other sports besides football, SportMonks offer Cricket and Formula 1 APIs to add even more dimension to your product’s offerings. Both APIs offer access to the latest news, standings, scores, fixtures, statistics, live results, interviews, and much more.

Sports betting app

Sports betting is currently one of the most popular and fastest-growing segments in the betting and gambling industry realm. With a market worth of almost $219 billion, sports betting undoubtedly represents an attractive prospect, and, lucky for us developers, building a sports betting app is now easier than ever thanks to API suppliers like SportMonks. But how does this type of app work? Basically, a sports betting app allows users to bet on different sporting events and earn money if their bet ends up coming on top. Because of their nature, sports betting apps require the use of advanced APIs to deliver the data and statistics needed to optimize the decision-making process for your users. In that sense, SportMonks predictions and news API can both be highly beneficial to keep your users up-to-date on results, statistics, and trends. Moreover, their predictions API offers a Value Bet Model that processes historical data to generate odds and trends to find betting opportunities.

Additionally, SportMonks has endpoints that bolster the benefits of their APIs and help you integrate more features into your sports betting app to deliver a robust, high-quality product to your users. For example, you use their bookmakers’ endpoint to implement odds better and make sure they are as informative as possible for your users. You can also use their markets, top scorers, and odds and predictions endpoints, which are extremely helpful for users to make well-informed betting decisions.

However, keep in mind that since sports betting involves monetary gain, it is considered a business activity, meaning it’s not legal worldwide. And, even in the territories where it is legal, some specific terms and restrictions apply to betting apps to make them compliant with government and app store regulations. So, before you decide to develop a sports betting app, make sure you conduct your own research on the countries your app will be available to avoid fines or sanctions when they apply.

Get into the game!

Get into the game!

There’s no question about it: sports app development is rapidly becoming a booming segment. The prospect of dabbling into this billion-dollar industry is too attractive to pass up and now, thanks to companies like SportMonks, developing a robust, efficient, and durable sports app is easier than ever. Sure, specific development knowledge is still needed, especially when implementing cutting-edge technologies and functionalities that are outside what APIs can do. However, SportMonks simplifies the integration of crucial aspects of sports apps and makes our jobs easier. And, as more sports fans and average users become attracted by the scent of modern sports apps, more opportunities will arise for app developers. Without a doubt, companies like SportMonks will become the right hand of sports app developers worldwide.

Developing a robust and innovative sports app is no easy feat. Luckily, we at Foonkie Monkey are ready to help you on your journey. So, whether you need to ask us a question, have doubts or concerns about this article, or want us to work on your latest project, don’t hesitate to contact us so we can promptly assist you!

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