The Technology Behind a Fantasy Sports App

by Andy Stitzer

Fantasy sports are always hugely popular, giving fans the chance to pour over stats, match action and events and make decisions that prove they are the real experts.

Since 1998, the market for fantasy sports in the United States has grown from around 500,000 players to a whopping 59 million players. It is exciting, engrossing and keeps you invested and involved even if your team are perhaps not doing as well as they should.

Players also like to entice their friends into competition too, as we explored recently in our article Introducing People into the Fantasy Football Fold, but if you do, what technology do you tell them they will need? It is all well and good having the knowledge, but there is an amazing amount of technology needed at either end of the industry. End-users need access to up-to-date information, and the provider has a responsibility to collate that information for the user to assimilate.

At the sharp end of the game, a fantasy sports fan needs a good tablet or computer. We strongly recommend a tablet, for ease of transportation and flexibility of use. There are lots of different tablets available on Adorama, and we feel they are better for fantasy sports, as opposed to mobile phones, thanks to the screen size. You will need regular access to apps and platforms such as NFL RedZone, so you can see those Sunday games and get access to the latest facts and figures. It is also worth having a home assistant such as Alexa, who you can chat to about fantasy sports, have access to podcasts and talk stats or ADP. That is all hugely useful to you as a player.

Where do these numbers come from though? It is great having all the gear at home, but you rely on the technology at the other end being accurate, and the work that goes into supporting these leagues is not to be undervalued. There are plenty of fantasy platforms you can use in the United States but take the Yahoo fantasy football platform, for example. It has seven million registered users across the world and on any given Sunday, the load increase on the service is significant. They have to ensure that for the tech to work your end, they have protocols in place to manage the traffic successfully, and that is never more pertinent than peak draft season, as explained by EJ Campbell, a senior director of engineering for Yahoo Fantasy Sports:

“During peak ‘Draft Season’ — the four weeks leading up to the season — we have engineers on-site seven days a week and in the evenings, ensuring we can quickly react to any faults in our system, as well as help customers if they have a problem with their draft. During the first few weeks of the NFL season, it is all hands on deck during NFL games to ensure our system can handle any changes in load or user behavior from the previous season.”

Of course, the technology does not just extend to support in the event of a platform breakdown. Fantasy sports are all about predicting the future, in much the same way you predict a winner in a horse race. You use experience, stats, anecdotes and a host of other aspects to picking your team. In most of those instances, there will be some hidden tech helping you, collecting information and sending it straight to that high-end tablet, so you can beat your friends and prove you are a master of your chosen sport.

Never underestimate the power of that technology!

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