SportsEvents is edited for those who plan tournaments or other sports events.
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www.sportseventsmagazine.com January 2017 45 t YOUTH Sports The amateur sports events industry and mobile app market have something in common: they are both growing by leaps and bounds. And while the mobile app industry has sprinted far ahead in terms of revenue growth projections, youth sports are definitely contributing their share to this exploding mobile apps phenomenon that reached $51 billion in 2016, according to App Annie research. In fact, a new study by WinterGreen Research projects "significant growth and enormous market consolidation" for youth sports software and apps as teams become more automated. The report titled "Youth League Sports Software: Market Shares, Strategy and Forecasts, Worldwide, 2016 to 2022" suggests that the market for youth and amateur adult league technology alone will reach $5.9 billion by 2022. Consolidation of the market is well underway, said Susan Eustis, president and CEO of WinterGreen Research and leader of the market research team that prepared the study. "Vendors are making acquisitions to make the software able to provide a large set of capabilities," Eustis said. "Modules brought in from different companies and developers are difficult to integrate into a functioning platform. Frequently, function- ality brought in from an acquisition is torn down and rewritten to make it conform to a platform standard." Consider market leader Blue Star Sports. In 2016, the company acquired eight companies in 120 days: LeagueLineup, SDI Camps and Races, PrimeTime Sports, Goalline, Pointstreak Sports Technologies, Bonzi, RaceWire and CaptainU. Blue Star Sports' vision is to connect all the technolo- gies and services in the market to provide a single, comprehensive solution. Founder Rob Wechsler recently said, "Blue Star Sports has been aggres- sively growing since the beginning. We have no interest in slowing down and maintain our position as the number one authority in youth sports. Our goal is to combine the best companies in the youth sports industry and create one multifaceted product for our current future customers." Sports App Heavy Hitters In terms of market share for youth sports, ACTIVE Sports and Blue Star Sports sit at the top with 9 percent each, according to WinterGreen Research. Sports Illustrated Play, Sport Ngin and Hudl follow with 7 percent each. Currently, 70 percent of the market is divided among companies each with less than one percent, leaving ample room for future consolidation. Youth sports software is often sold to leagues that distribute the software to teams and clubs, although some teams make the purchase independently. Functionality that is commonly sought after includes automat- ed processes for registration, scheduling, web site construction, communication, tournament play, video coaching, transac- tion management and fee collection. ACTIVE Sports Established in 1996 for endurance and running events, ACTIVE Sports has been in the youth sports software space since 1999. Today, the company offers one of the most robust online sports registration software and league management tools in the industry. Specifically, ACTIVE.com hosts the world's largest directory of sports and recreational activities, facilities, venues and classes. The app is free, which is one of its strengths, according to Eustis. The solution is also easily scaled to needs ranging from local league positioning to national events. Active Sports Online provides a platform for managing player registration and pay- ment processing as well as league manage- ment functionality such as automating and consolidating player accounts, volunteers, scheduling, rosters, reporting and commu- nications. Dozens of national governing bodies partner with Active Sports, and the solution dominates the market because its "league management tools are the best in the industry," according to WinterGreen Research. Blue Star Sports Blue Star Sports partners with leading professional organizations including USA Football, U.S. Soccer and the North Amer- ican Hockey League. Following a series of acquisitions, the organization has created a platform to centralize operations for youth sports leagues, clubs and associations. The solution addresses registration and ► Sports Illustrated play offers basic out-of-the-box features for free. BY SELENA CHAVIS Sports Apps Markets Battle For Position App-ealing For Youth