First of its kind Custom App Sparks Athlete-Fan Conversations

Connecting Athletes and Fans: Custom App Development for Niche Sports

The Opportunity

In the sporting world, high profile sports, such as football, soccer or cricket, benefit from plenty of highly publicized media coverage, making it easy for fans and budding sports professionals to follow a team’s or individual’s progress. In addition, dedicated fan club sites and social media make it easier for a sporting community to interact.

The same cannot be said for niche sporting activities with a more specialized appeal, such as badminton, rowing or volleyball, etc., which don’t receive quite the same recognition or prominence they deserve. Athletes competing in niche sports are not able to connect with their fans, making it much harder for fans to follow their progress, and harder for athletes to encourage more people into their sport.

“Our client spotted a gap in this market, coming up with the exciting idea to create a platform, a custom app development , that would shine a spotlight on more specialized sports, bringing athletes and fans in direct contact with each other, in a consolidated environment”, Sarah Drury, Director of US Operations, SourceFuse.

In addition, the US recently passed a NCAA Name, Image and Likeness policy that states collegiate student-athletes have the opportunity to receive compensation for their name, image, and likeness. This is hitting the ‘right to publicity’ headlines, as it provides a way for young amateur athletes to monetize their talents at the collegiate level. Therefore, the idea for this company’s app development would align perfectly with this latest policy, offering the added potential to earn additional income, while gaining exposure to their fans.

Key Challenges

  • The industry challenge was the lack of a way for sporting fans to build a true relationship with an athlete. The ability to open the door to their daily lives, athletes are able to share advice and insights on what it took to reach their elite status, offering mentor support, answering questions such as “How do I go about getting to where you are in this sport?”.
  • The key challenge was how to differentiate interactions already available via existing social media platforms, such as Cameo (where you pay celebrities to send you a message), Instagram or Tiktok.
  • The final challenge for this project was how to take a novel idea for an application and make it a reality, going from a start-up idea to full execution.

With these challenges in mind, the company approached SourceFuse, not only as a tech partner to build the application, but also as a consulting partner to form the company itself, including brand development, company logos, and website. SourceFuse was selected based on its proven track record for reliably building innovative technology for startups, its reputation in the community, and delivering tech solutions at speed.


The Strategy

During SourceFuse’s initial discovery phase of the project, the client presented a core set of features it wanted to incorporate. Taking this as a starting point, SourceFuse was then able to design an infrastructure to further hone the objectives and refine its focus, guiding the client step by step through the app development, from discovery to launch.

The solution leveraged a microservices architecture, with every discrete component split into separate microservices, such as video, payment, authentication, etc. It also incorporated SourceLoop, a unique open source, microservices-first approach (based on IBM’s Loopback framework) to accelerate the application development. Taking this approach, each individual microservice can be scaled without affecting the others, providing flexibility as demand changes and the business grows.

A number of AWS and third-party services were deployed in the solution. To view the full technical specifications, click below and download the Case Study PDF.

Solution Key Features

  • Video Calls and Streams: create more personalized relationships between professional athletes and their fans by means of 1-on-1 video calls and live streaming options.
  • Events and Scheduling: athletes are empowered to be entrepreneurial and manage their availability around their training as they see fit.
  • Athlete Community: next generation of athletes and fans can benefit tremendously from the information and experiences possessed by onboarded athletes.
  • Funding Support: ensure professional and elite athletes receive the funding needed to pursue their sporting careers, aligning with NCAA NIL policy.


The speed of uptake of this application, in the niche sporting community, has clearly demonstrated the need. Already, there are numerous athletes on the app, including a growing number of Olympic medalists, that have a truly unique way to interact. SourceFuse was excited to be part of this start-up project, and is wholly invested in its future success as the client continues to expand its business growth.

Athletes are now able to share live-streams during their workouts, talk about their meal-plans and nutrition, describe a typical day-in-the-life of a professional athlete, or share what competitions that they’re preparing for – all one a one-to-one basis with fans or young athletes looking for motivation and guidance.

About The Customer

Founded in January 2021, and headquartered in Europe, this start-up tech company is bringing innovative communication channels to the sporting world, with a special emphasis on highlighting athletes in niche sports.

Download Case Study PDF