On the second floor of a Silicon Valley office complex, in a conference room crowded with a dozen workers and three times as many devices, Apple is watching sports for you.
They’ve been at it for almost a year now, keeping an eye on minor tennis tournaments, spring training baseball, college lacrosse, even curling. The team manages the sports subsection in Apple’s TV app and its Apple TV interface, highlighting what’s available around the clock.
It’s been 18 years since Apple disrupted music by extracting the song from the album. Now, it’s joined other companies separating moments from their games. The goal is to offer the curated convenience of highlights without sacrificing the thrill of live. Don’t miss another moment, the pitch goes, but don’t wait for one either.
Sports rights are deeply fragmented, with different owners split by platform and region. “You really can’t own all the rights, so therefore at some point you need to solve some other problems,” Cue said. “You can’t design for owning the rights because if that’s the only thing you’re doing you’re always going to be tiny.” And these days, Apple rarely does tiny.
In a world of infinite supply, [Eddy] Cue wants to be the middleman, letting fans know what’s worth watching and offering one-click access to action rather than worsening the fragmentation. For Apple, there are financial benefits there. The company takes a cut of sports subscription services purchased on iOS and, on a high-level, can leverage its exclusive software into hardware profits.
This is a fantastic read and, seems to me, a giant hint at what’s coming in next week’s Apple event.