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Apple Launches iPhone Sports App

Apple has launched Apple Sports, a free iPhone app that provides access to schedules, real-time scores, standings, and betting odds for five professional sports: soccer, basketball, hockey, baseball, and football. Apple Sports also covers college basketball and football, so I’ll see how Cornell’s basketball team does in the last few weeks of the Ivy League season.

Apple Sports

Three thoughts:

  • Despite including soccer leagues in Germany, Italy, Spain, and Mexico, Apple Sports is currently available only in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Why restrict it to these regions?
  • Apple ignores everything other than major spectator sports, including track & field. I’d love to see real-time results from the World Athletics Indoor Championships next month. Perhaps Apple will acknowledge that other sports exist in time for that other little sporting event later this year—the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics.
  • Betting odds? Yes, even though it remains illegal in Apple’s home state of California, sports betting is now legal in 38 states and the District of Columbia. In 2022, Apple removed ads for gambling apps in the App Store in response to complaints, so it’s disappointing to see the company re-engaging with the industry. At least you can hide betting odds in Settings > Sports, which would be especially helpful for those struggling with gambling addictions.
    Apple Sports betting odds setting

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Comments About Apple Launches iPhone Sports App

Notable Replies

  1. Too bad the sports coverage is limited to a handful of sports. There are many other sports that deserve coverage and for which fans will not find the new app useful.

  2. Excellent! Hopefully, they’ll continue to develop it and add more sports as they do.

    Wait! No NFL? That seems a major omission – or is it just because the season is over?

  3. Right in the App Store listing it says, “Additional leagues will become available soon, including MLB, NFL, NCAAF, NWSL, and WNBA for their upcoming seasons.”

    Personally I have a few different sports apps that I use for different reasons. TheScore has the best layout of scores in many leagues; SportsAlerts is best for up-to-the-minute notification alerts when scores change and periods start and end, and the best Apple Watch app for checking scores; BBC Sports is even better for Premier League score, card, and substitution alerts. I’ll check this one out just to see if it does any of those things better.

  4. Launched in the UK with only Premiership football, what a joke.
    It needs all 4 football leagues, rugby and cricket as a minimum to be useful.
    It pulled in 1 out of a dozen teams from apple news+ because of the limited scope.

  5. There are no notifications yet of items like changes in score, changes in personnel, start and end of games, etc., so it won’t replace other apps that do that for me.

    The lack of support for Champion’s League, Europa League and Europa Conference League, FA Cup, and the League Cup, in addition to no support for lower leagues than the Premiership, means that “upcoming” for a team like Liverpool or Chelsea, playing Sunday in the League Cup final, is incomplete, plus no listing for yesterday’s Porto v Arsenal match, if you had Arsenal listed as a favorite.

    The score view is fine, but NHL games they don’t have the normal box score of scoring plays and penalties by period, and instead have a dense play-by-play view that shows way too much info. The same goes for the game view of a football/soccer game - no quick list of goals, substitutions, and cards, though a dense reverse-sorted play-by-play.

    So I think it’s a good start, but it has a way to go.

  6. They have place holders for the NWSL, the WNBA, and MLB in the app, but nothing for the NFL.

  7. My guess is that Apple is probably negotiating a deal with the NFL as well as deals with other sports leagues in the US and abroad. And my guess is that cutting some deals could really help Vision Pro sales among sports fans. It could be really profitable for Apple as well as for the teams.

    There’s an interesting article here:

  8. When I watch an SF Giants game, I always time-shift so that I can skip the ads. So this isn’t useful to me. Personally, the score isn’t why I’m interested in watching games anyway. I like watching the plays and listening to the Giants’ announcers, who are some of the best in the business.

  9. Actually there are more than 4 leagues in the UK as all 4 nations have leagues - as well as playing on the international stage as discrete countries. Same applies to Rugby, hockey et al.

    England is not the UK.


  10. It seems to be leaving notifications to Apple News.

  11. Apple News has no notifications for scores or activity in live games.

  12. I didn’t say it was complete in News either. But incomplete is different than “no notifications” at all.

  13. I am receiving notifications for teams that I have marked as favorites.

  14. Since there are no notifications, I completely forgot about Cornell’s basketball games on Friday and Saturday, but when I remembered today and went to see what the scores were, I realized that if you don’t check the Sports app at least every other day, it’s worthless for sports scores since it shows only games that happened today and yesterday. That feels unnecessarily limiting.

  15. I tried to download it from apps store but it wants assistive touch open but then what do I do?

  16. Unless something has changed since yesterday, I am not.

    Settings / Sports - there isn’t even an option for Notifications. There is no notification or alert setting within the app. And honestly I don’t even get notifications for my favorite teams in the news app.

    Are you sure that it’s coming from the Sports app and not from the TV app? I know that the TV app gives notifications when televised sporting events are about to start (not helpful for Adam’s interest in Cornell’s basketball team if the game is not televised), but not scoring plays, not when the next quarter or period is about to start after halftime/intermission, not pitching changes, not penalties and power plays in hockey, not substitutions in soccer/football. These are the notifications that I now get from other apps, so this app cannot replace those apps.

  17. The app looks to have not been tested on many devices–these screen shots of a score, and a box score, are from my iPhone 13 Pro.

    Ellipses? Box scores with players’ names initials, and the starting players’ not having their FG attempts quantified?

    What an embarrassment.

    I think the app is essentially a controller for the Apple TV app to serve gamblers. It launches quickly, and live games have a button to click to start streaming and see if your wager came through.

    There are a lot of good apps out there for those seeking useful and legible information.

  18. When I first read Apple is launching a sports app I thought it’s going to be the Apple version of Strava or MapMyRide with connectivity to heart rate monitors, cycling computer etc.
    Something that has to do with fitness… with me, as a user, being involved in sports activity.

    Alas… turns out this app is for the kind of sports couch potatoes play.

    Enjoy. Not for me. As far as I’m concerned this is a waste of Apple developers’ time which could have been used to develop something more useful.
    I’ll keep using 3rd party apps for what I consider sport to be, and leave this sorry app for the gamblers and die-hard fans.

  19. M C

    Because, we do not have enough sports in our lives? :expressionless:

  20. Hmmm, the notifications started after I installed Apple Sports, but yes, they open the Apple TV app. It’s all intertwined, I suppose. Thanks for pointing that out.

    But you’re right, I’m definitely not getting notifications of the minutiae that you listed. (Thank heavens.)

  21. Do you have the Dynamic Text size bumped up? That might account for it.

  22. Thanks, for the tip, Adam. While my Dynamic Text size is mid-range, I do run my iPhone with my Display Zoom set to Larger Text.

    The example game I showed above displays legibly when I set the Display Zoom setting to Default:

    I run numerous sports data applications on my phone that seemingly know how to behave when they encounter my settings.

    I get the feeling Apple just doesn’t test stuff that might affect 1 in 10 users and relies on their customers to send feedback. Another example of this: through iOS 16, the eight Siri Suggestions apps would display neatly on two lines, as of iOS 17, it’s three:

  23. This does seem pretty dumb that it wasn’t tested.

    FWIW, you can set custom text sizes by app. Settings / Control Center and make sure that you add the text size widget. Then with Sports running, open control center, tap the “Aa” icon, set it for Sports only (at the bottom, rather than All Apps). 85% seems to work for NBA scores.

  24. Do some searches for fitness apps and workout apps in the App Store. The number and variety exercise apps currently there is quite amazing. I’ll bet the farm that there will be a great variety and a lot of workout apps that will be written specifically for Vision Pro available in the App Store very soon. And it’s no secret that Apple had recently begun working with current developers to ramp up their fitness, training and health apps asap.

    At the moment Apple is emphasizing professional league sports apps for Vision Pro, probably because they can bring in bigger bucks at the moment. I’ll bet the farm Apple is working with developers to build and/or update their apps, and will be featuring upgraded fitness, training, health and relaxation, etc. in the App Store for Vision Pro very soon.

    Apple announces more than 600 new apps built for Apple Vision Pro - Apple

  25. I appreciate the USA is a decent sized market for Apple (35% of sales) but sometimes they forget the other 65% aren’t that interested in their sports. As an Aussie I couldn’t name a US hockey or baseball team and I only know the football Chiefs because Taylor Swift was just here. The only basketball teams I know are the Lakers (Magic Johnson + Kareem) and the team Luc Longley played for (Chicago?). Even as a motorsport tragic I’d never watch a Nascar or Indy race.

    It bothers me a little when Apple One subs rise just after they announce big new deals for US sports. I can’t see the new Sports App ever residing on my devices.

    BTW I don’t mean any of this as a sledge on US sports but it’s akin to the interest Americans have in cricket, Australian Rules or Rugby.

  26. I am nothing resembling a sports fan; I can barely tell the difference between a baseball or football. But I am very interested in how Apple continues to grow in the extremely popular broadcast major league sports market, and how they are slowly but surely growing in popularity in a very demanding marketplace.

    And I think that live sports fans will be a good market for Vision Pro.

  27. Betting odds aren’t just useful for betting, they’re an easy indication of who’s likely to win, which is probably why they’re there.

  28. Most gambling sites/venues use parimutuel betting. That is, after the house takes a cut, all of the money collected by the bettors is divided among all the winners. The effect is that the payout odds (that are announced and constantly updated until they stop taking bets) are a measure of who the majority is betting on and is in no way related to the actual event that is being bet on.

    Those that don’t use parimutuel betting instead choose odds based on some kind of expert analysis. So the odds will reflect what those experts expect the result to be.

    In other words, the odds don’t indicate who is likely to win. They indicate who the bettors (or the odds-makers) think is likely to win - which is not always the same thing.

  29. I will say this: Jason Snell’s interview with Eddie Cue said:

    It turns out that those scores, fed from Apple to the TV app and the Apple TV and a few select other places, are from a data source that Eddy Cue also cares about a lot. He’s been pushing it to be as close to real time as is technologically possible, right down to watching his phone and comparing it to the scoreboard at a Warriors game. And now that data source is driving Apple’s latest app, a free iPhone app called Apple Sports, which is debuting today.

    “I just want to get the damn score of the game,” Cue says. “And it’s really hard to do, because it seems like it’s nobody’s core [feature].” In a sports data world increasingly driven by fantasy and betting, Apple’s not trying to build an adjunct to some other app business model. (There are some betting lines displayed in the app, but there’s also a setting down in the Settings app to turn them off if you don’t want to see them.)

    I did some testing today while games were being played and compared them with the iPhone app TheScore, which is my go-to app for sports scores, and Apple’s app really does do a better job staying absolutely current, down to the actual time of the game. (Well, it was hard to test on one game that was streaming on Peacock, as the stream was behind the display in both apps.) For soccer/football the Apple app is better, as they show the time past with seconds as well as minutes - TheScore just does 87’ when the game is in the 87th minute.

    This is probably most critical of all for what seems to be Eddie Cue’s favorite sport, basketball, which has score changes far more frequently than soccer/football, hockey, and baseball, when that starts up in the app.

    TheScore is very good but it seems to update far less frequently for the hockey and basketball games I was checking.

  30. They indicate who the bettors (or the odds-makers) think is likely to win - which is not always the same thing.

    I mean, of course not. But betting markets are probably the best mechanism humans have invented for predicting the future.

  31. I’m a soccer fan and I’ve been following the sport since the mid-1990s. I noticed that in Apple’s MLS broadcasts this season they’ve been periodically posting an “odds” chart during the game. It shows the odds for each team to win and the chances of a draw. Naturally this changes throughout the game, depending on what’s happening. For example, if the home team scores, their chances of a win go way up.

    I have no idea how they’re calculating these odds (or if they are betting odds). I have never seen a graphic like this in 25+ years of watching soccer. Seems like something Apple has added.

    I cannot for the life of me figure out the purpose of this “statistic.” It’s not like it’s useful. It is in no way related to reality. (Spoiler alert) Yesterday my hometown Timbers were winning 2-0 and their odds of a win were almost 95%. The game finished 2-2. So much for those odds.

    It has me wondering, along with Apple’s release of their Sport app, if Apple is catering to sports gambling like ESPN.

  32. I loathe online betting, its ads and the absolute misery it brings many families. I don’t gamble (on anything) and I simply hate seeing constant references to it. It robs me of the enjoyment of watching a game for the pure entertainment value.

    As a shareholder, I’d be pretty disgusted if Apple were getting into gambling of any description.

  33. I agree that I haven’t seen it during a broadcast, but it’s been a thing for a while. Here is a graphic from the ESPN app for a game summary yesterday:

    FWIW when Apple began broadcasting Friday night baseball a couple of years ago they would show advanced stats and probabilities as the game progressed as well. See the details to the bottom right here:

    If you’re interested, I found an article that details where these stats come from.

  34. I would say that they’re the best mechanism for determining consensus about the future.

    How well that correlates with the real future is going to depend a lot on what is being bet on and the level of expertise of the people doing the betting. Probably a high correlation for major sports. Significantly less for other kinds of events.

  35. What better mechanism exists for predicting the future?

  36. Any wisdom of the crowd model that doesn’t introduce the skewing of betting?

  37. So people are more likely to be honest and accurate in their predictions when it’s costless to be wrong?

  38. So people don’t do dumb things when money’s concerned?

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