Thoughts & Musings
Fight Scores by the numbers
I'll start this update with the disclaimer that Fight Scores, my iOS app for creating and sharing boxing scorecards, was never intended to be a big money spinner. Over the years it's true that I've updated its sales model from paid upfront to ad-based, and finally to tip jar. But these changes were made more out of interest in seeing how these metthods performed in an everchanging app store environment, than a belief that I'd suddenly strike gold.
While Fight Scores has never provided me with much financial rewards, it has proved invaluable in helping me to learn how to design and build apps in Objective C, then Swift, and now SwiftUI. For that, I'll always be grateful. Additionally it was an app I wanted to exist and continue to use regularly.
With that out the way I'll get into the raw numbers, starting with those pesky sales figures.
In the first few years of its existence, Fight Scores had been paid up front. It had previously cost anywhere between $1.99 and $5.99. The next few years I received a small amount of ad revenue from Google's AdMob ($22.21!!) but the bulk came from an in-app purchase for removing adds. In 2019 I switched again to a tip-jar, largely because I'm morally opposed to the ad-based revenue model, the user privacy issues it creates, and the direction it ultimately imposes on businesses of all sizes that rely on it. I introduced the tip-jar, mainly because over the previous 4 years or so, I had received a number of emails from users thanking me for the ongoing work on the app and asking how they could pay me for it. Initially some users did leave a tip, however this hasn't worked out over time with 2021 dipping in terms of revenue from the previous year. It's worth noting that my server costs with Linode total around $150 per year, so breaking even isn't on the horizon anytime soon.
Moving on, lets look at users. There are no numbers for 2015 as I rewrote the user model between version 1 and 2 of the app. The huge jump in users in 2017 is likely due to the fact that I rewrote the app in Swift, and released it for free (see above). Since then, numbers have been steady, hovering between 300-400.The initial drop I put down to an update to the iOS app store which decreased the visibility of Fight Scores over night. The lack of time and effort that I've put into marketing the product outside of the app store is surely a factor why there is no growth in this area. A large part of 2020 had no live boxing due to Covid, and so user numbers took a hit there. They've recovered nicely in 2021 though and with a few weeks left, may well still reach the 400s.
Looking at the number of fights being created on Fight Scores, this is my favourite chart as its the one that shows for the most part, a steady line of growth, punctuated by a huge 2021. This has mostly been down to some fantastic fights that we've had this year. The users that have signed up to Fight Scores are typically more active than in previous years.
Finally, it's fun to see which decade users are scoring fights from. During early to mid 2020, when fights were shut down due to Covid, I saw a lot of people watching and scoring fights from the past. To accommodate this, I added a "classic" section of the app, allowing users to choose from an ever-growing library of classic fights. It's been good to see this section has been popular even after live fights resumed in the Autumn of 2020.
Conclusion: Fight Scores always has and always will be a passion project for me, something that may not earn me much money, but that I enjoy using and I know others do to. In 2021 I've added a full web interface and have plans to add average scores for major fights to the iOS app, a feature that, surprisingly has never been requested yet I feel would improve the user experience even more. These days I've got lots of other projects going (see Speedback) but Fight Scores will continue to see updates and stay modern.