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Apple launches sports app

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Apple ventures deeper into sports with Apple Sports App and key partnerships

In its relentless pursuit to become the digital platform for sports enthusiasts, Apple has unveiled its latest initiative, the Apple Sports app. This development highlights Apple's growing interest in the sports industry, aiming to provide fans with real-time scores, stats, and a seamless sports viewing experience. Contrary to the high expectations of premium rights deals, Apple's sporting endeavours have taken a more modest approach, with its most notable investment being a groundbreaking $2.5 billion, ten-year global deal with Major League Soccer (MLS).

Apple Sports: Speed, Simplicity, and Scores

The newly launched Apple Sports app is designed to be the fastest and easiest way for users to access the latest scores and stats for their favourite teams and players. Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Services, emphasized the app's simplicity and speed, delivering real-time updates faster than traditional TV broadcasts. The app is currently available exclusively for iPhone users in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada.

The app focuses on providing scores, stats, and team following features for various leagues currently in season, including NBA, NHL, MLS, men's and women's college basketball, Bundesliga, LaLiga, Serie A, Ligue 1, Liga MX, and the English Premier League. Apple plans to expand its league coverage, adding MLB, NFL, college football, WNBA, and NWSL for their upcoming seasons.

Apple's MLS Partnership: A Technological Showcase

Apple's most prominent sporting investment lies in its $2.5 billion deal with Major League Soccer (MLS). The partnership, now in its second season, aims to enhance the technological ambitions of both Apple and MLS. The MLS Season Pass within the Apple ecosystem offers usability enhancements, personalization features, and exclusive features like Multiview, previously available only on Apple TV. The partnership also introduces the Apple Vision Pro mixed reality device, providing fans with immersive 3D 8K experiences and showcasing Apple's commitment to technological innovation in sports.

A Tailored Hub for Sports Enthusiasts

Apple envisions its Apple Sports app as a hub for sports fans, providing a personalized and fast way to stay updated on favourite teams and leagues. While competitors like ESPN offer a broader range of content, Apple Sports focuses on scores, stats, and simplicity. The app allows users to customize their scoreboards, navigate between scores and upcoming games, explore play-by-play information, team stats, and live betting odds.

Apple's Strategic Move into the Sports Industry

Apple's entry into the sports industry with its ad-free Apple Sports app marks a strategic move to challenge traditional media giants for broadcast rights. While the app is currently not focused on live streaming, it seamlessly directs users to suitable apps for watching live action, contributing to Apple's ecosystem's growth.                                                                           

The move aligns with the broader trend of tech and media giants securing sports rights for their streaming services, posing a significant threat to established players. Apple's interest in sports is evident in its recent partnerships, including broadcasting Friday night MLB games on Apple TV+ and being the main broadcaster for all MLS matches globally.

Future Prospects

Apple's focus on sports goes beyond the Apple Sports app, with rumours suggesting its involvement in bidding for the NFL Sunday Ticket package and potential partnerships with the NBA. As Apple continues to address pain points for sports fans, the sports industry can anticipate further innovations and collaborations from this tech giant.

In conclusion, Apple's recent ventures into the sports industry, encompassing the Apple Sports app and key partnerships, underscore its commitment to becoming a central hub for sports enthusiasts, combining technological innovation with a seamless sports viewing experience.

Source: Apple, CNET, CNBC, Sports Pro Media, Digital Trends

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