Hands on: Apple Sports brings a limited experience to tracking your favorite teams

in iOS edited March 5

The new Apple Sports app is an oddly empty experience with a lot of potential, but its minimal interface and emphasis on betting odds may keep people away.

Text reading 'Welcome to Apple Sports' on a green to black gradient background
Apple Sports

Every time Apple introduces a new app, it is usually with good reason. The app tends to serve as an example of what Apple sees as the ideal entry point for the category, and Apple Sports is exactly that.

When you first launch Apple Sports, you're greeted with empty space. Even though we already follow a few teams across the NFL, NCAA Football, and MLS in Apple News, only our Nashville MLS team was visible.

Apple says support for more leagues like the NFL will come later. However, it seems odd that users can't at least select their favorite teams, especially since the interface already exists in Apple News.

From what we can tell, Apple Sports will soon be the new home for all things sport. Hopefully, Apple will take an Apple Stocks approach and include the Sports News section in the near future.

For now, let's look at the app as it stands today.

A barebones iPhone app

If you watch American football and nothing else, the app will be empty until the fall. We added the NBA, NCAAW, NCAAM, MLB, and MLS for testing purposes.

A series of three screenshots showing an empty 'Today' view in Apple Sports, a list of leagues that can be followed, and a list of upcoming matches.
Follow leagues and teams to see data in the app

The default "My Leagues" page shows upcoming games from any of our selected leagues. The information includes the team name, logo, standings, and betting odds.

Tapping on one of these games brings up detailed betting odds and win/loss metrics. An "Upcoming" section shows a week of scheduled games for your followed leagues.

The "Yesterday" section shows results for the previous day's games, if any. Tapping on these brings up detailed stats about the game.

A screenshot showing stats of a basketball game between Tennessee with 72 points and Missouri with 67 points
Get stats about a completed game

Going to "My Teams" or any specific league view shows the same "Today," "Upcoming," and "Yesterday" options.

The current score and game clock are displayed prominently when a game is live. Tapping into the live game provides live betting options and team stats.

A series of three screenshots showing a Liverpool vs Luton match, score 3 to 1, a play-by-play list of recent actions, and the Apple TV view of the game
Live scores and play-by-play are available in Apple Sports, but Live Activities are only in the Apple TV app

A link to Apple TV is displayed if a game is viewable from an app or service connected to Apple TV. The Premier League game, in our example, showed up in the Apple TV app with Live Activity support.

Despite having a "Play-By-Play" section filled with the same information found in the Apple TV app, there isn't a Live Activity for the game in the Apple Sports app. Apple could add the ability to follow games and get live updates from Apple Sports in a later update.

There's also a "Lineup" section in the live game view. It provides information about players on the field and which subs are in place.

Sports betting

The Apple Sports app prominently displays sports betting metrics from Draft Kings. It is at the top of every detailed match view and inserted in the individual match cards in the main list view.

Two screenshots with one showing betting odds for a Florida vs Alabama basketball game and another showing the toggle to disable betting odds.
Betting odds can be toggled off in Settings

If you don't want to see betting odds, there is a way to turn them off, but not in the Sports app. That setting is found in the Apple Settings app at the bottom of the installed apps list.

Tap the Sports app in Settings, then toggle the "Hide Betting Odds" button.

Apple's sports push

Apple keeps pushing into sports and sports coverage across its services. After MLB and MLS, Apple began implementing features directed at sports viewers in other services.

An iPad screenshot of the Apple News app Sports tab with articles about upcoming games.
Apple News has a much more complex UI for showing sports news and info
Apple Music

has team-curated playlists, Apple News has a dedicated Sports tab, and the redesigned Apple TV app has a prominent Sports tab alongside an MLS tab.

There's no hiding from sports, either. Navigating the App Store, News, Music, or any of Apple's other service-focused apps could land you face-to-face with a Lionel Messi ad.

The Apple Sports app is interesting for what it could be, but it is barebones today. Expect more of Apple's services to tie into the app and experience soon.

If you're wondering why Apple is bothering with a Sports app beyond the cynical take of promoting its own sports services, it's obvious. Sports-focused apps are a nightmare filled with ads and in-app purchases and have more direct methods for gambling.

Yes, Apple does show Draft Kings data, which can be toggled off, but having a native iPhone experience for keeping track of favorite teams is excellent. Now, if only Apple could get into the adult coloring book app market, because that's another detestable trove of elder manipulation and weekly subscription hell.

Read on AppleInsider


  • Reply 1 of 2
    y2any2an Posts: 187member
    And you haven’t seen the dots connecting Apple TV, streaming sports, and Vision Pro? This app ties them together. All will be revealed in the upcoming season 😂
  • Reply 2 of 2
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,279member
    Wow. Even though MLB teams can be added, spring training games aren't supported.
    Very disappointed in this app. No Widgets or spring training either, Can't imagine how this could be less useful.
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