Champions Round is a fantasy sports startup that is upending traditional fantasy sports by introducing round-based gameplay that breaks a regular season and postseason into four rounds, each with its own draft. This creates more excitement, more opportunities to win, and an invigorating challenge for roster management. They were looking for a partner they could trust to take their big idea and smash it out of the park. For version one, Champions Round would debut with support for NFL football.
The Champions Round team chose CitrusBits because of CitrusBits’ demonstrated excellence in UI/UX app design and because CitrusBits was committed to delivering a compelling fantasy football experience in time for the 2019-2020 NFL season.
At the start of the project, we spent several internal sessions getting the entire design and development team up to speed on fantasy football, analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of competitor apps, and identifying areas of improvement we could capitalize on. Armed with that preparation, our design team got to work creating a UI/UX capable of turning heads.
Bright colors, fresh layouts
Our designers wanted users to immediately grasp the freshness of the app experience, to understand that Champions Round is not your typical “spreadsheet-warrior” game. While our designers knew they couldn’t completely escape the grids and other elements inherent to the data-driven gameplay, they strove to minimize these tired elements and balance them with bold colors, artistic flourishes, and an overall modern aesthetic.
Dynamic home screen experience
The fantasy sports experience is inherently complex, with so many crucial aspects of the overall experience: league creation/invitations, draft scheduling, drafting, roster management, waiver wires, player information and stats, scoring, and league standings – just to name a few. Our designers focused on creating an engaging home screen experience that would allow users seamless line-of-sight to what’s happening in their league each week and for the overall round. The in-app menus and UI give users convenient one or two-touch access to everything they need to maximize their fantasy performance.
Fantasy gameplay, reimagined
In Champions Round, there are a few crucial gameplay features that have been reimagined in order to offers sports fans an attractive alternative to season-long fantasy leagues.
- Regular season is split into three rounds, each starting with a blank scoreboard and new draft.
- Postseason is the 4th round, or the “Champion’s Round”, which has its own set of rules and eliminations.
- Rather than weekly matchups against another league member, everyone in the league competes for fantasy points instead of wins and losses.
- No trading.
Development and Sportradar API integration
Early on, the CitrusBits team knew that it would need to master the chosen sports data service – Sportradar — and its API in order to deliver the crucial sports stats and scoring updates that are the lifeblood of any fantasy sports app. Therefore, one of the first steps, even before design was completed, was to master our control of the API and lay the groundwork for the app’s backend services.
To get complex game mechanics ready for launch, our team had to routinely test with simulated data, and even created a mock draft feature so that it could hammer out any draft-related bugs or performance issues.
The Champions Round iOS app was launched ahead of the start of the 2019-2020 NFL season for an open beta test and is already garnering positive feedback from early adopters. The Champions Round team was selected for a prestigious sports startup accelerator and is well on its way to becoming a formidable player in the fantasy sports market.