Football Fans Score with Mobile Apps During First Game of the World Cup

Throngs of green, yellow and blue descended upon Sao Paulo, Brazil, fans groaned when the host team scored an own goal against Croatia, and mobile usage boomed when fans used their smartphones for replay analysis – all signs that the 2014 FIFA World Cup has kicked off.

Fans are no longer content just watching games with family, friends or die-hard supporters. Their trusted mobile devices are joining the action and are ready at a moment’s ping to replay that awesome goal or provide in-game commentary to supplement TV viewing or in-venue experiences.

As a result, Localytics has partnered with Onefootball to analyze the role of mobile apps in World Cup viewership. Onefootball provides live scores and updates from more than 100 international football leagues in over 200 countries, reaching 15 million users globally. Their Onefootball Brasil app is dedicated to providing live World Cup scores and updates.

Data from the Onefootball Brasil app during the June 12 opening match between Croatia and Brazil provided interesting insights:

  • App users supplement traditional forms of World Cup viewership with app content
  • App usage peaks during major match events, including kickoff, goals and halftime
  • Users log shorter sessions in the app during live gameplay


App Usage Mirrors Major Events During a Match

By examining minute-by-minute app usage of the Onefootball Brasil app during the opening match, Localytics was able to map major spikes in usage to crucial events. World Cup 2014 App Usage Graph

As displayed in the graph above, app usage peaked at kickoff, during halftime and when goals were scored. The unpredictable timing of these critical moments indicates that fans are keeping their phones at hand while they follow the match on TV. When major events happen during the games, apps are being used to receive supplemental information such as player statistics, live social media updates and analysis of the action fans just witnessed. For mobile marketers, this would be a great time to direct users to specific parts of an app during these precious few minutes when so many users are highly engaged.


Visits to Apps Are 16% Shorter During Match Play

World Cup 2014 Opening Match App Use Graph

Despite app usage peaking while the match was in play, app session length was actually shorter during that time. The median session length before the opening game was 1 minute and 23 seconds. However, once the match started, session length shrank by 16% to 1 minute 10 seconds. This indicates that people interact with the app differently while the match is on, resulting in shorter sessions.

The main focus for fans remains watching the match, and apps are primarily used to check peripheral information such as player statistics and live updates during crucial game moments. Outside of match play, fans visiting the app spent more time in the app, engaging more fully with content because their focus is not split between the app and the live game.

This analysis demonstrates that apps are being used to complement TV viewing of major sporting events. For sports apps in particular, viewers are able to use their mobile devices to find additional commentary and live updates that are not displayed on TV. This two-pack punch of TV and apps will create even more opportunities for allowing fast-acting marketers to interact with their app users during major events such as the World Cup.

Localytics will provide more data as the World Cup progresses and as the countdown gets closer to the FIFA World Cup Trophy. Stay tuned!



For this study, Localytics partnered with Onefootball and analyzed their Onefootball Brasil apps across Android, iOS and Windows Phone. For app usage, Localytics examined the number of unique users during each minute on the opening day of the 2014 FIFA World Cup June 12. For session length, Localytics examined the median session length during the match and compared to outside the app.

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