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tvOS brings a whole new level of interactivity to live sports broadcasts. This article covers how to watch sports on Apple TV.
Sports are the most viewed content on television. One only need look at Nielsen ratings to see that the Super Bowl dominates the list of most viewed broadcasts. Given the enormous popularity of sports, the content is guarded by networks. While anyone with a TV and antenna can watch sports for free, the new era of Internet broadcasting has networks feeling less generous. It’s hard to find free sports apps on any platform. At best, you may be able to activate a “free” app if you pay for a cable or satellite subscription. In recent years, major events such as the Super Bowl have been available for free. But if you want to really follow any major sport, you typically have to pay.
This trend isn’t as dystopian as it seems. There are compelling reasons to watch sports on a TV appliance such as Apple TV. tvOS apps, unlike broadcast television, have the potential to be interactive. These new features allow fans to view statistics, check schedules and even watch multiple games on the same screen. You may have to pay for this advanced functionality, but it’s much cheaper than actually going to the game. In fact, subscribing to one season of interactive sports usually costs less than one ticket to a professional sporting event.
Apple TV offers a wide array of amazing sports apps. These are usually official apps of the NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL. They’re not cheap, but they are far more immersive and entertaining than their traditional TV counterparts. If you’re a huge sports fan, the costs are well worth the entertainment value. Let’s take a look at tvOS apps offered by six major sports — NFL football, NBA basketball, NCAA basketball, MLB baseball, NHL hockey and MLS soccer. For the international reader or expatriate, we’ll also take a look at the Willow TV cricket app.
NFL and NFL Sunday Ticket Apps for Apple TV
The NFL offers two apps for Apple TV, but they certainly won’t replace cable or an antenna. Football is the most popular sport in the US. It generates a lot of revenue from advertising. The franchises also want to make sure people will show up at the games. For these reasons and more, both NFL apps are severely limited. They have also garnered the ire of customers, who have given both apps poor ratings, for good reason. You can’t really watch live football games on these apps. The NFL app allows for playing past games, on demand, if you pay for a subscription. With the NFL Sunday Ticket app, users can play some live games as long as it’s Sunday, they’re not blacked out and you’re a DIRECTV subscriber. There’s a good reason why both of these apps are rated at 1.5/5 stars.
The apps themselves are fairly decent and exhibit quality software development. It’s just that the business aspects have dictated that you can’t really watch football games on Apple TV. This absurdity is not just limited to sports. Most networks require a cable or satellite subscription to activate their content. This is precisely why TV devices such as Apple TV are not catching on. The technology is here, but the businesses are lagging behind, clinging to their old and profitable ways. They can also profit from interactive television, but they seem to adhere to the old adage — “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. (continue…)
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