Entertainment International

Globalizing the Sports App Experience

How can we improve the game-watching experience of a US-based sport for non-US fans?

Our Team

4 Designers

Client Team

Product Management, Marketing, Development

Services Provided

Product Strategy, Qualitative Research, UX / UI App Design, Design Management


Sports & Entertainment


18 months

If you live in the US, it’s pretty easy to follow your favorite basketball team. If you want to watch a game, there’s a good chance you can just turn on the TV and find it via broadcast or cable. The game schedule has already been optimized to your schedule: games happen during your leisure time on evenings, weekends and holidays. If you miss a game, you have several options to watch highlights or game streams.

Now imagine if you’re trying to follow the same game from Hong Kong. You’re 15 hours ahead of the east coast of the US, so a game airing at prime time Tuesday is airing mid-morning Wednesday for you. You probably can’t skip work to watch the game live, and, unless you’re really, really careful, you’ll probably hear the results and see the highlights via sports and social media before you have a chance to actually watch the game. Your fandom experience is fundamentally different.

Our client asked Grand Studio for help reconsidering an existing app that delivers game content worldwide. The previous version had been launched with a US-centric point of view on sports viewership. Our job was to define the ways that international fandom differs, and then design an experience optimized for an international fan.

Key Questions

How do we streamline access to content?

From existing metrics, we knew that our app users are a pretty hardcore subset of the total group of sports fans. Our first job was to use existing metrics as well as qualitative research with international fans to identify the content that our app delivers (or should deliver) better than alternative sources. With that done, we knew how to develop the right content hierarchy that got fans the content they sought as quickly as possible.

How do we address global time differences?

Our app has users in nearly every timezone, so the task of defining how and when people are accessing content was not trivial. We spent significant time defining fan journeys in a variety of timezone scenarios, which allowed us to develop a point of view around simple-sounding-but-actually-tricky terms like “Today’s Games.” We designed the app so that fans who wanted an unspoiled game experience could easily do so.

In what ways can we push the monetized version of the product?

Our app is free, and many fans use it to follow their teams without paying a dime. Fans can also pay for additional services that unlock much richer content. This content is particularly valuable in countries where watching games via traditional channels like television is difficult or impossible. We designed the app to present this paid option in a straightforward, honest manner without being overly intrusive.

A Grand Studio designer layout out a map of a basketball stadium on a computer
The Outcome

Hand-off to Dev

A quick and efficient hand-off to development allowed for a quick – launch of new product within the same season of play.


  • Annotated wireframes
  • Functioning prototype
  • Visual style guide
  • Interaction pattern library
The Project Numbers
191 Countries represented
30% More video starts
44% Increase in watch-hours

Our app objectively performs far better than the old version: every important product performance metric has been improved. Users love the new product.

Not only have we heard in public venues like app store reviews that the product looks and works better, but some users even clamored for us to turn our attention to other features in the app.

Empowering others is what inspires us. If we can help change how processes or technologies are used, or even help create new ones, to improve the lives and livelihoods of others in any imaginable way, you can count us in.

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