A new summer of sport may be on the horizon, but for many of us the season never ended thanks to our favourite mobile devices. No matter what sport you love, the variety of management and simulation-based games on mobile is pretty breathtaking. You’ve got sport management classics like the Football Manager series, but then you’ve also got new takes on the genre, like the strange yet wonderful, Football Drama: a choice-based narrative game centred around a coach.
There really is no better time to check out the best sports manager games that mobile gaming has to offer. But better still, armchair sports fans can chill out and enjoy this cerebral selection of sporting simulations without even having to break a sweat, while fans of racing won’t have to take to the track to get their adrenaline fix.
Because why exert actual effort when you can still reap the glory? Whether you’re on iOS or Android, a soccer sympathiser, or a motorsport maniac, our guide to the best mobile sports manager games has got your covered.
What are the best mobile sports manager games?
Considering its popularity, American football feels very under-represented in games. There are a few arcade-y options and, of course, EA is present with the usual free-to-play butchering of a great game with the absurdly titled Madden NFL Overdrive Football. But genuine quality management games are few and far between.
One serious choice is the Pro Strategy Football series, which consistently delivers a strong offering in its 2019 edition. It’s a fun coaching game, but also accurate and realistic depending on how deep you want to dive in. One of the best things about PSF is how flexible it is, so you can have a quick single match, or a multi-season career. You can play in beginner mode, just choosing the type of game, or expert mode, in which you can micromanage every player’s role.
It’s a great game for novices who want to learn more about the complexities of management, and hardcore players who want to control every aspect of their team.
Football Manager‘s latest version isn’t as innovative as we might have hoped, instead relying on more iterative changes, and a sweep of database updates. But there are some new European leagues included for the first time.
Still, if you own and enjoy 2019, you don’t necessarily need to buy in to 2020; maybe wait and see what 2021 is going to be like instead. That doesn’t detract from the fact that this is a solid app though, and a marked improvement on the previous game. The phone friendly mobile variant expertly manages to offer a similar experience to the full game, adapted for use on smaller devices.
This series scores an easy pole position in the motorsport management genre, and the latest instalment is the best looking and most feature-rich yet. For a sports game on mobile devices, it is achingly beautiful; especially the diorama-like, idyllic race tracks. But the game also has lots of substance as well as style, with plenty to keep you busy as the principal of a motorsport team: recruiting drivers, developing the best cars, and investing in your facilities. Once the action switches to the track during races, you’ll still have plenty of decisions to make in terms of strategy, car set-up, and tyres.
This series has been around on mobile devices for several years, but without much fanfare, despite being well-received by players. Perhaps cricket is more of a niche than other sports, particularly among European or American gamers. But this is a must-buy if you are fan of hearing leather against willow.
Cricket management is a very narrow genre, but this game is unrivalled with its deep, accurate, and comprehensive simulation. Very much the Football Manager of cricket with its attention to detail, this game is packed with features, stats, and tactical options that should keep virtual captains happy for many hours.
Not so much Championship Manager as Chair-manship Manager. This simple but satisfying simulation puts you at the head of the table in the boardroom, rather than in the manager’s office or the dugout. Instead of going to the chairman asking for extra funds or more time to build your squad, you are the chairman who makes the decision on hiring and firing of your club’s manager. If you get that decision right, along with sponsorship deals, stadium development, transfers, contracts, and more, you’ll be able to turn your little non-league football team into a major force.
It’s a more basic, quick-playing game than, say, Football Manager but its fast pace allows you to whizz through seasons in minutes and hours rather than days and months, making it great for short sessions on the commute.
As its name suggests this clever card came condenses baseball down into short, bite-sized, ten-minute matches. If you are looking for realism then I suggest you move on, as this futuristic take on America’s favourite sport has a player roster that includes robotic and cybernetic players. A game generally consists of each side only playing a total six cards, but it still manages to pack in a lot of tough decisions and tension. On your way to the World Series you get to draft new players into your hand, which gives the whole experience a pleasing bubble-gum card collecting nostalgia.
This may not be a sports sim in the strictest sense of the term, but if you are interested in a boxing-themed game with lashings of 1980’s nostalgia, then Punch Club rings all the right bells. You embark on a Rocky-style quest of vengeance by setting up fights, whilst juggling your work and social life. It is a game that takes plenty of its graphical sensibilities from the 1980s, and is tougher than Apollo Creed. This means that you will be doing more grinding than a dirty dancing barista. However, it’s still a fine game that’s well worth checking out.
This game is a cricketing-themed follow-up to New Star Football that is perfect for those who prefer grassy pitches and wickets. You begin your career with a lowly club in your favourite cricketing nation, and each season you compete in both 20 over and 50 over competitions. Perform well and famous clubs will be queuing for your signature; you may even get an international call-up.
The game does not stray too far from the winning formula of its forebear, as a series of mini-games that enable you to improve your skills and have an impact on matches at key points. Gameplay is as satisfying in bite-sized spells, as it is in marathon sessions, which makes this an ideal mobile game.
Other top Sports Manager Game Recommendations
In case these didn’t satisfying your sportsman fantasies, here are a few more quality options: