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Why Apple’s new Sports app could be bad news for Google

Apple Inc. AAPL, +1.12% debuted “Apple Sports” on Wednesday, an iPhone app that gives sports fans access to real-time scores, stats, lineups and betting odds, in an effort to become the go-to place sports fans get their latest news.

The move by the tech giant illustrates its increased foray into sports, and could shake up the live sports information industry.

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“Being the first app people reach for to check these things is incredibly valuable,” Daniel Kirschner, CEO of Greenfly, a software company used by major sports leagues for content initiatives, told MarketWatch. “If you’re the first place fans look for this information, you can then layer in access to short-form content, connections to broadcast, etc.”

The new app provides similar real-time information to other sports apps, such as ESPN, Yahoo Sports and CBS Sports. But as far as competition, the brand that perhaps should be most worried is Google GOOG, +1.03% GOOGL, +1.08%.

“Google is the real competition here,” Kirschner said. “Who is going to be the gateway to the sports data and media ecosystem? Right now a lot of people type their team into a search browser and Google delivers a curated, real-time experience. The Apple app’s simplicity is surprising — scores, standings, and betting odds.”

This new app will be integrated with Apple News and the Apple TV app, allowing opportunities for suggested content, further customization with fans’ preferences and favorite teams, as well as a direct way to watch some of those events.

The app is available to download in the company’s app store, but will not be automatically downloaded onto peoples’ iPhones. Not yet anyway.

Kirschner said it “might at some point” become one of Apple’s built-in default apps like Notes, Clock and Maps, and added that such an integration would be a “powerful move” into the company’s broader sports plans.

Apple did not respond to MarketWatch’s request for comment on this story.

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Apple’s release stated its app will support data for MLB, NFL, NCAA football, WNBA, MLS, NBA, NCAA basketball (men’s and women’s), NHL, Bundesliga, LaLiga, Liga MX, Ligue 1, Premier League, and Serie A. Some sporting events that as of Wednesday were not included in the app’s coverage were for golf, tennis, the Olympics and international soccer.

“We created Apple Sports to give sports fans what they want — an app that delivers incredibly fast access to scores and stats,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Services.

Apple told Barron’s there is “nothing to share today” when asked if the Sports app would ever include a live betting feature. Betting lines and odds for Apple Sports are provided by DraftKings Inc. DKNG, +0.22%, and can be disabled by customers in the settings app.

In addition, Apple’s app won’t have advertisements at its launch, unlike apps from ESPN, CBS Sports and Yahoo Sports.

Apple has made sports a major priority in recent years. The company purchased MLS broadcast rights last year alongside a major deal with star Lionel Messi, Friday Night Baseball rights, and funded numerous sports documentaries that aired on Apple TV+. It also bid for streaming rights to NFL games last year before eventually losing out to Google’s YouTubeTV. Apple has also expressed interest in bidding on the NBA’s next TV deal, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Apple CEO Tim Cook took to social media to post about his company’s new venture.

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