Reports > Insights into Global Sports Apps in 2016
Insights into Global Sports Apps in 2016
author: Cheetah Lab Cheetah Global Lab 2016-10-21



The 2016 Olympic Games will be held in Brazil on August 5. As the national team embarks on the journey to the Olympics, is your passion for sports ignited already? Considered to be a year of sports, this year features world-class events such as UEFA Euro and the Olympic Games, and is expected to set off waves of craze for sports. Under such a favorable context and among the most sought after IPs in the industry, isn't it the time for sports apps to boom?

Recently, the "typhoon and pig" story has sparked heated discussions in the world of mobile Internet. As live broadcasting and personalized news are frequently discussed, some even said that "there are so many pigs that even the typhoon cannot move them". Currently, the majority of domestic sports apps have integrated features such as personalized news, videos, live broadcast, data pool, and real-time ranking, taking in a wide range of buzz words.

In this article, we use appinsight data to rank and analyze several well-known sports apps at home and abroad, in an effort to provide some helpful insights for the future development of Chinese sports apps.


1. Enjoying huge potential for development and many models for profit-making, sports apps are likely to experience an explosion in the future

2. The analysis of Chinese, American, Indian and German markets shows that cultural barriers are a great challenge for sports apps

3. Despite all the difficulties, there are still opportunities for sports apps to go international

4. Sports apps are very much likely to trend towards the integration with various categories of the mobile Internet to create more value.

I. The Past and Present of Sports Apps

Sport knows no boundaries and languages, and basically everyone has his or her favorite sport. In traditional areas, sports is just as important and irreplaceable as politics, economy, entertainment and culture. Sports apps only account for a small part of it. Previously, people tended to use news apps (news and data) and video apps (live events and playback) to follow sports. It was only during the outburst of major sport events that they would put their excessive enthusiasm to verticals.

The sports apps nowadays are mainly converted from three sources. The first is the sports section segmented from the general contents of portal and video websites such as Tencent, Sina and LeTV. The second is those like Dongqiudi and Hupu that have transformed directly from vertical websites to the mobile apps. The third is apps designed and launched for specific events, which are more common in foreign countries. This kind of apps often sees explosive growth but cannot last long. Their names often contain the game names, such as UEFA Euro, March Madness and Indian Premier League, and get forgotten as the game ends.

II. The Inevitability During the Development of Sports Apps: Why Are They Splashing the Money?

According to the data from appinsight as of June 19, 2016, the global market penetration rate of the Sports category is only1.621%, ranking 34th among the 41 app and game categories (referencing Google Play categories). The Tools category ranks first with a penetration rate of 39.281%, and Software & Demo the last with a penetration rate of 0.099%. 


Global Penetration Rate Comparison






Note: Penetration rate = WAU of the category / global WAU

Plenty of capital is flowing into the sports industry despite the insufficiently positive overall circumstances. There are three reasons for that:

Firstly, the Internet has become a can't-miss part of the booming sports ecology. In recent years, we have witnessed the perfect integration of the Internet with O2O industries such as catering, transportation and film. Therefore, it's also an inevitable trend for sports to be integrated with the Internet. Every link from title sponsorship to copyright, from clubs and football stars to venues and tickets can be expanded and deepened. "Sports Plus" has become a super popular concept among speculators.

Secondly, with the development of mobile Internet in recent years, app publishers have changed and lifted up their thoughts from crazy download buying and blind pursuit of user count to the exploration of clear profit-making models and precise identification of target users. Verticals can attract the highest-quality users.

Thirdly, the world-wide enthusiasm for sports has been enduring for decades, which promises great profit opportunities for sports related programs.

III. Status Quo: An Overview of the Chinese, American, Indian and German Markets

1. China: Huge Potential for Growth


Top Sports Apps by WAU in China




App Name


Market Penetration




Tencent Sports


LeTV Sports




Sina Sports


Football Cube


CCTV Sports


Hupu Sports











Copyright Clarify

Copyright ownership of data, conclusions, images, graphics and other components in this report belongs to Cheetah Data.Any media, websites, individuals or organizations share not be uploaded, posted, modified, distributed, reproduced, or used in other ways without permission.

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