The World Cup is coming. It’s now less than fifty days until the tournament’s opening game between Brazil and Croatia kicks-off in Sao Paulo, with this summer’s showpiece event promising to be FIFA’s most spectacular extravaganza to date.
We’ve already looked at some of FIFA’s official World Cup apps. Let’s look at some of the best free sports apps available in the Windows Store.
Football lovers will already be familiar with Goal.com’s website. Extensive football coverage of all major European, Latin American and North American leagues combined with high-quality writers has made their site one of the go-to destinations for your daily fix of football news. The MakeUseOf staff have been admirers for a long time – last year we featured it as one of our eight best websites for soccer lovers.
Their Windows Store app is as engaging as the website. It runs quickly with short loading and rendering times, and offers customisable locations to give you the news from the leagues that most interest you. They already have a special news section dedicated to the World Cup, so you can be certain you’ll never miss any of the build-up.
Their website, EspnFC.com, featured in our best websites for soccer article. Whilst maintaining a healthy news section, ESPN FC has two features that make it standout above its competition – its blogs and its in-match reporting.
The in-match reporting translates especially well into the app, with detailed play-by-play text commentary, live stats, and detailed on-screen visualisation of shots, saves and other key events.
You can customise the app by adding your favourite teams, thus letting you to see their latest news and season statistics all neatly presented. The app also includes a video section, which will give you exclusive access to videos that are unavailable elsewhere.
Considered to be the second most popular sport in the world, cricket has an estimated 3 billion fans across Northern Europe, the Indian subcontinent and Australasia. The sport’s World Cup (next hosted in New Zealand and Australia in 2015) boasts 2.2 billion television viewers, the third largest audience in the world and only behind the football World Cup and the Olympic Games.
ESPN CricInfo is the Windows Store incarnation of the EspnCricInfo.com website. As with their football app, it is well presented and detailed, offering a range of news, live ball-by-ball scores, and editorial and opinion content. You can customise the app by setting up push notifications for wickets and results from your favourite team.
If you don’t know much about cricket, you should try playing a few virtual games to bring you up to speed with the rules. Stick Cricket is the most popular free game – read our review of the Android version of Stick Cricket to learn more.
NFL is America’s most popular sport – it has the highest participation levels in both high school and university and commands the largest TV audiences, hence the highly-popular super-bowl adverts. Its popularity is now slowly growing outside the United States, with an annual regular-season match in London’s Wembley Stadium, helping to take the sport towards the European markets.
NFL Mobile is the sport’s official app. When you install it for the first time you will be prompted to choose your favourite team and set up which alerts you want to receive. The alerts are far more customisable than the previous three apps, with diverse notifications such as injury alerts, team news, highlight availability, and TV programs’ start times all available. Once in the app you are presented with league-wide news, team-specific news, league standings and players stats. It’s the best NFL-based app available.
Sports Republic is one of the best multi-sports app in the store. It covers almost every sport you can think of and draws articles from hundreds of sources, including major news agencies, websites and specialised sports blogs from home and around the world.
The app includes eight regional editions and you can even create your own news channels on the topics of your choice.
When you load the app for the first time, you’ll be prompted to set up your preferences. These can include highly-varied topics, for example your favourite sports and teams, leading sports stars or trending news stories. Once selected, they will be presented as individual tiles on the homepage, which when clicked will take you to a scroll-able wall of all the leading news stories.
Do you already use one of these apps? Have you got your own personal favourite that we don’t mention? Let us know in the comments below.