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Sunday, April 21, 2024
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Apple Looks for Broad Reach with Scoreboard App

  • Apple Sports launched on Wednesday, as the MLS season kicks off.
  • The app provides an up-to-date scoreboard on all major leagues, and connects users to streaming apps that broadcast the games.
Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

As Apple seeks to take the sports-watching experience into the future with its Vision Pro headset, it is also releasing a much more recognizable product for the sports fan.

Apple Sports, which launched on Wednesday, is a scoreboard app designed for speed and simplicity. 

“I’ve been working on this since we opened the App Store, because I’ve been looking for something like it,” quips Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of services to Front Office Sports. Cue, however, adds that the app had only been in development for about a year. Apple poured resources into making game data as up-to-the-second as possible, including a game clock that ticks down in real time.

“There are so many features we could add, but we don’t want it to be cluttered,” Cue explains. 

With its release on the first day of the Major League Soccer season, Apple Sports can quietly raise awareness of the league and Apple’s broadcasts. When focusing on individual games, they can tap on the broadcaster’s name to be taken to the corresponding streaming app, if one is available, including Lionel Messi’s season debut on Apple TV. 

“We might not have done this [app] if we weren’t already doing everything else [that Apple is doing in sports],” notes Cue. The iPhone-maker also broadcasts select Friday night MLB games and produces sports documentaries.

With Prime Video and Peacock bidding aggressively for sports rights, “NFL Sunday Ticket” on YouTubeTV, and ESPN, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery set to launch a sports-focused streaming app, Apple Sports is positioned as a first stop for sports fans to check scores and jump from there to the appropriate streaming app.

The app tracks NBA, men’s and women’s NCAA basketball, NHL, MLS, Premier League, La Liga, Ligue 1, Serie A, Bundesliga, and Liga MX games. It will add NFL, MLB, college football, NWSL, and WNBA games when those leagues commence their upcoming seasons.

Users can select their favorite teams that default to the top of the scores list and track games from their phone’s lock screen. In addition to the score, time on the scoreboard, and other fundamental game state data, the app will show live betting odds from DraftKings (though it does not have a betting integration or connect to the DraftKings app). The app will only be available on iOS systems.

While live scores are available in countless locations, Apple hopes to be the iPhone-using sports fan’s de facto choice by being a step quicker and easier than the rest.

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