The professional baseball season is just beginning, soccer is in full swing and both pro basketball and hockey are heading into the playoffs. Now would be a great time to load up your smartphone with mobile applications so you can keep tabs on all the action.
Whether you're a fan of the more popular sports, or niche games that sometimes fly under the radar, such as tennis, cricket or rugby, I've got apps for you. Best of all: Each and every one is free. (Note: All applications featured in this post are available for both Android and iOS, but features may differ slightly depending on the mobile OS.)
MLB.com At Bat Lite For Android, iPhone
Major League Baseball's official mobile application, MLB.com At Bat Lite, offers professional-baseball scoring info, news, standings, schedules, team-rosters and player-statistics. The free app also offers a few daily video clips, and you can customize the software based on your favorite team, for easy access to the information you want most. The paid version offers many more features, including Gameday audio-and live video, for iPhone users. But its $15 price tag will be a turnoff for many fans.
NBA Game Time 2010 - 2011 For Android, iPhone
Get live scores, detailed team- and player-statistics and league standings via the National Basketball Association's (NBA) official mobile application. Game Time 2010 - 2011's intuitive interface makes it simple to navigate through various games and team information. Unfortunately, you'll have to upgrade to the paid version to remove advertisements and access video highlights and live game audio.
NHL GameCenter 2010 For Android, iPhone
Never miss an on-ice beat with the official mobile application of the National Hockey League (NHL). Get real-time scores, stats, standings and news, and customize the app based on your favorite teams for quick and easy access to the information that's relevant to you. Unfortunately, video highlights and audio are only available in the paid-version.
ScoreMobile For Android, iPhone
ScoreMobile is the dream app for smartphone-toting sports nuts. The completely free app offers scores, statistics and more for a variety of sports and leagues, including NFL and NCAA football, Major League Baseball, professional golf and NASCAR. Users looking for in-depth info on specific sports can find more full-featured apps, but ScoreMobile is one of your best options for keeping tabs on a variety of games/leagues at once.
MLS MatchDay 2011 For Android, iPhone
The official mobile application of Major League Soccer (MLS), MatchDay 2011 provides real-time scoring information and detailed play-by-play breakdowns for every MLS game. Customization options make it simple to follow your favorite club. And the app also offers a number of valuable features typically only found in paid sports apps, such as video of noteworthy plays shortly after they happen and complete game highlights following every match.
NFL.com Game Center Lite For Android, iPhone
The National Football League's (NFL) official mobile application provides all the basics you need to follow your favorite professional football teams while on the go-during the regular season and offseason-including live scores, play-by-play breakdowns, video- and audio-clips, news and team- and player-profiles. Paid versions of the app offer more features and functionality, but Game Center Lite will definitely satisfy the casual follower.
Sports Illustrated Front Row For Android, iPhone
Sports Illustrated (SI) Front Row isn't your everyday mobile sports app. Rather than focusing on just scores, statistics or player profiles, Front Row works to make you feel like you're there, at the game via beautiful SI photography from the scene of the action. So though you do get scoring information, this app's true value is in the images.
ATP/WTA Live For Android, iPhone
ATP/WTA Live for Android and iPhone, the official mobile application of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) World Tour and Women's Tennis Association (WTA), lets you closely follow all of your favorite pro tennis players. You can access player bios and head-to-head records as well as keep up to date with major tennis tournaments via live scores, match stats, and detailed breakdowns of finished matches.
Sporting News NASCAR For Android, iPhone
The free Sporting News NASCAR application gives you detailed news and opinions on the most popular American racing circuit. There is a section for general daily racing news and information on a variety of specific races, such as the Sprint (S) Cup, Nationwide Series, and Chase for the Sprint Cup news. You can also closely follow Sporting News columnists' NASCAR blogs.
ESPN ScoreCenter For Android, iPhone
ESPN ScoreCenter provides real-time scoring information for hundreds of sports and leagues around the world, all in one easy-to-navigate interface. Create a custom tab for your favorite baseball, basketball, cricket, football, hockey, rugby and soccer teams, so you never have to look far for the scores you seek. And a "Top Events" tab keeps you in the know on noteworthy sports-happenings.