Over the course of the last couple of decades, it has now certainly become a routine practice for any sports organization to have its own website. Some might also go a step further and deploy their own mobile application as well, depending upon its relevance given the nature of the business. This has now become all the more critical especially when it comes to having an interface actively collecting first party fan data. We have worked alongside some of the leading stakeholders in the sports ecosystem in India and overseas, helping them develop these owned digital assets. Some of the best examples could include the likes of the Women’s Premier League, various teams participating in the IPL, International Paralympic Committee, European Cricket Network, United World Wrestling and so on. The burning question on the mind of any global sports org though is: how do we make sure that we keep adding more fans every month and that they keep returning to our Website or App repeatedly thereafter?

We believe that in order to solve that puzzle, the fundamental question to answer is: What exclusive offering on the Website/App can give fans a strong enough reason to keep coming back?

Given the constraints mentioned above, what could be an offering for fans that is Web/App-exclusive, is repetitive in nature and does not restrict the potential addressable audience in any way?

Before we get into how and why exactly we feel Games can prove to be highly impactful as a feature on the Website/App of any sports organization, let us start off with a great example to lay the foundation.


UEFA UCL Fantasy: 60% of all new User Registrations driven through the Fantasy Game

Sportz Interactive has been associated with UEFA ever since 2016 and has powered some of the major sections of the Gaming Hub, including the Season-long Fantasy offering for the Champions League as well as the Euros. In the 2022-23 season of the UCL, the fantasy game recorded 2x growth in unique users in a span of two years as compared to the 2020-21 season.


In order for the fans to participate in the game, they had to Register onto the UEFA website and create their account. This led to the Fantasy Game becoming a very powerful lever for first party data collection, which is critical to drive personalized campaigns (find out more here) - over 60% of all new registrations driven on the UEFA website were on account of the gamification offering. Beyond just driving User Retention, games can also offer very promising Commercialisation opportunities in case of significant fan traction. As seen in the image above, UEFA partnered with PlayStation 5 for a co-branded gaming experience on the back of the 2M+ eyeballs guaranteed on the page each year. Such organically compatible collaborations can lead to a Win-Win outcome for everyone involved, in the form of incremental revenue - both direct and indirect in nature.


Exploring the HOW behind the impact of Gamification: potentially 20% lower retention spends

After having acquired a certain set of fans, Interactive Games have the potential to keep them engaged over long periods of time. Across the gaming deployments that we’ve made for multiple clients, we have found that it is possible to see a Returning User Rate (the proportion of users who played the previous edition and came back to play the next) of close to 30% on average. How can this directly impact the spend efficiency with respect to the Fan Engagement budget for an organization?


Our vast experience of over 75+ product deployments across 50+ clients through the last couple of years tells us that the average Mobile App or Website for a sports organization is usually expected to have: 

~10% highly engaged users, followed by ~20% moderately engaged users, followed by a longtail of ~70% low engaged users. The last cohort requires the most attention and thereby the most promotional spends.

We’ve found that upon the addition of Interactive Games (with ~30% returning users), we can potentially reduce the size of the low engaged cohort from 70% to below 50% thereby helping effectively save up to 20% of effort and resources on fan retention.


Over the course of the 2024 IPL season, we’ve had over 10 deployments Live across different client Apps and have seen that Games can drive around 20-25% of the entire Engagement Time consistently. Of course, there are local engagement peaks around important Match Days whereas the trend slightly corrects itself downwards elsewhere. Given the seasonal nature of sports events in general and even within a particular season with respect to Match Days and non-Match days, we’ve developed a wide portfolio of alternatives for sports orgs to deploy. Broadly we can look at games in these categories:

Dependent on the outcome of/within the match

  1. Team Picker - Fan picks the playing team and gets rewarded based on the actual performance

  2. Predictor - Fan makes choices regarding certain outcomes in the match (runs/goals etc)

  3. Bingo - Fan claims match events on a 3 * 3 ticket (eg. Messi scores a goal in the first half)


Independent of the outcome of/within the match

  1. Wordle - Fan plays the usual Wordle game with a twist of sport/team related terms

  2. Quiz - Fan answers historical trivia questions pertaining to the team/league/sport

  3. More or Less - Fan plays a quiz based on past data (eg. Messi’s 2023 goals - 10: More or Less?)


We’ve seen that outcome-dependent Games can drive close to 2x User Returning Rates than the ones that are independent of the match outcomes - this isn’t surprising as a trend during the season when fans usually want to become a part of the journey alongside their favourite teams in some way. But, if we look at it from the point of view of off-season engagement, the non-outcome dependent games can play a major role in retaining traffic on the App/Website after the season is over. With a similar objective, we’ve recently deployed the Quiz Arena on the UEFA Gaming Hub to drive off-season traffic after the UCL Final.

Through the course of IPL 2024, we’ve seen that among the outcome-dependent games, Bingo has performed the best in terms of drawing the maximum average Engagement Time per fan (roughly 2x of the rest) while Team Picker has driven the maximum Unique Users (roughly 1.5x of the rest) this season. These divergent trends point to something really important when it comes to the choice of which games to have on one’s App or Website: there’s no one solution that fits all equally! Depending upon the unique requirements of the business, we can offer the best recommendations that could help deliver relevant outcomes in a time bound manner. Different cohorts of fans react differently to different offerings and the key is to have the right combination of offerings that suits the best to the respective fanbase.

Sportz Interactive has had the opportunity to deliver gaming solutions to 20+ global sports organizations including the likes of Formula One, UEFA, AFG and 5 different IPL franchises. We remain committed as ever to keep pushing the wavefront of cutting edge sports fan engagement, with a sharp focus on first party data led personalization of offerings. Let the GAMES begin!


- contributed by Aaditya Ranade (Manager, CEO's Office)