Top 10 Sports APIs: Nike+, Yahoo Fantasy Sports, Fitbit

The use of technology in the sports industry has risen rapidly in recent years. More and more professional and amateur sports teams are using technology for scorekeeping, team management, team statistics, live game updates, sports analytics and more.

Today, applications like GameChanger allow amateur basketball, baseball and softball team administrators to manage the team and record the action during games. The app uses the data to provide advanced real-time stats and charts, a live play-by-play stream, live updates to fans via web or mobile, and more.

Not only is the use of technology in sports becoming more prevalent, but so is the use of advanced technology such as mathematical modeling, machine learning and convolutional neural networks (deep learning). Many sports data companies use these advanced technologies to provide sports analytics and predictions.

One example of a company using advanced technology is numberFire, which uses mathematical modeling, predictive algorithms and other technologies for sports analysis and predictions. NumberFire analyzes the players and match-ups for several leagues, including the NBA, NHL, MLB and NFL.

STATS LLC acquired BSports in 2014, allowing the company to integrate predictive modeling with the STATS platform and provide new types of data-driven models for team and player performance. Earlier this year, STATS announced the launch of a product that utilizes the BSports technology for daily fantasy sports projections.

The APIs that made it to our top 10 sports APIs list provide a wide range of capabilities and data, including activity tracking, fantasy sports, event tickets search, event tickets price comparison, live sports scores and statistics, and online sports bookmaking. The APIs also scored well against a diverse set of criteria:

  • Popularity
  • Potential
  • Documentation
  • Ease of use
  • Functionality

API popularity is determined using a variety of metrics, including ProgrammableWeb followers, GitHub activity, Twitter activity and search engine popularity based on Google Trends.

Nike+

Link: http://www.programmableweb.com/api/nike-plus
Provider: Nike
API Documentation URL: https://developer.nike.com/

Nike launched the Nike+ API developer portal back in January 2013 to provide programmatic access to data captured by the Nike+ FuelBand and Nike+ Running app. Later that year, the company launched Nike+ Fuel Lab, a 12-week program aimed at expanding the Nike app ecosystem.

The Nike developer portal is nicely designed and provides SDKs (iOS, Android and JavaScript), code samples, a test console and well-organized API documentation. At the time of this writing, access to the Nike+ API and SDKs was limited to Nike+ Fuel Lab partners. However, the company plans on increasing access to the Nike+ API and developer tools in the future.

nike

Google search interest over time. Data source: Google Trends

Yahoo Fantasy Sports

Link: http://www.programmableweb.com/api/yahoo-fantasy-sports
Provider: Yahoo
API Documentation URL: https://developer.yahoo.com/fantasysports/

First released back in October 2010, the Yahoo Fantasy Sports API is available as a Web service as well as via Yahoo Query Language. In July 2013, Yahoo acquired Bignoggins, a mobile fantasy sports startup founded and operated by software engineer Jerry Shen. The acquisition helped Yahoo increase its mobile presence and boost the popularity of the Yahoo Fantasy Sports service.

The Yahoo Fantasy Sports API provides access to fantasy football, baseball, basketball and hockey data. Information that can be retrieved via the API for each type of sport includes game, league, team and player. Yahoo provides adequate documentation for the API, a testing console and an active forum.

Yahoo Fantasy Sports is one of the most popular fantasy sports providers, and Yahoo sports apps have been installed by millions of Android and iPhone users. Despite a recent security breach involving Yahoo Sports API servers, the Yahoo Fantasy Sports API remains one of the most popular sports APIs listed on ProgrammableWeb.

yahoo

Google search interest over time. Data source: Google Trends

Fitbit

Link: http://www.programmableweb.com/api/fitbit
Provider: Fitbit
API Documentation URL: https://dev.fitbit.com/

Fitbit is one of the leading activity-tracking product companies and, according to a recent New York Times article, Fitbit claims 85% of the activity-tracking gadgets market share. A few weeks ago, Fitbit went public, debuting on the stock market with an initial price of $20 a share and at market close was priced at $29.68 a share.

The Fitbit API provides read and write access to Fitbit users' tracker collections, profile data, social resources and more. The company provides a nicely designed developer portal, and the API documentation is well-organized and comprehensive. A number of companies, including IFTTT, MyFitnessPal and Walgreens Balance Rewards, use the Fitbit API for third-party app integrations.

fitbit

Google search interest over time. Data source: Google Trends

Eventful

Link: http://www.programmableweb.com/api/eventful
Provider: Eventful
API Documentation URL: http://api.eventful.com/

Acquired by CBS Local Media last year, Eventful is a digital media company and entertainment discovery service that helps consumers find sports, music, comedy, performing arts and many other types of local events. According to the company website, Eventful serves more than 22 million registered users via the Web, mobile and email.

The Eventful API allows developers to integrate Eventful platform capabilities and data with third-party applications. The company provides a basic API site for developers with well-organized documentation, client libraries, search tutorial and other developer tools.

eventful

Google search interest over time. Data source: Google Trends

Sports Data

Link: http://www.programmableweb.com/api/sports-data
Provider: Sportradar US
API Documentation URL: http://developer.sportradar.us/

Sportradar US (formerly SportsData) is a subsidiary of Switzerland-based Sportradar AG, a leading sports data and digital content provider. Sportradar US provides comprehensive data for all major U.S. sports and hundreds of leagues around the world. The company covers the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NASCAR, PGA, FIFA and more.

Sportradar US provides a developer site that includes comprehensive and detailed API documentation. It should be noted that a lot of the information about Sportradar US data feeds is provided in PDF format. However, interactive documentation powered by Mashery I/O Docs is also available.

In February, Sportradar US announced a partnership with NASCAR that allows the company to distribute real-time NASCAR data (all three national series) to third-party digital outlets. In April, Sportradar US announced that it had entered into a new multiyear agreement with the NFL, becoming an exclusive distributor of comprehensive NFL statistics to digital outlets.

sportradar

Google search interest over time. Data source: Google Trends

Strava

Link: http://www.programmableweb.com/api/strava
Provider: Strava
API Documentation URL: https://www.strava.com/developers

Strava is a popular social fitness-tracking application provider as well as a global community of runners, cyclists and other athletes. Strava allows users to track their runs, bike rides and cross-training using the Strava mobile app (iOS and Android) and/or a GPS-compatible device such as Fitbit, Garmin or Microsoft Band.

Janet Wagner is a freelance technical writer and contributor to ProgrammableWeb covering breaking news, in-depth analysis, and product reviews. She specializes in creating well-researched, in-depth content about APIs, machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, analytics, GIS/maps, and other advanced technologies.

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