While Apple continues to focus its eye on how to step up its game in the area of original content, it’s also striking some partnerships that could help put its name on the map specifically in sports coverage. The company is adding a new section in Apple News that will be dedicated to the Winder Olympics in Pyeongchang.
The Olympics section will appear in the “For You” section, the part of Apple News where the platform delivers a more personalised set of stories based on publications and channels that you look at regularly.
The company will be partnering with NBC Olympics for the service, which will feature videos, articles and infographics also from a selection of sources. We’ve asked if this will be available outside of the US — since NBC only holds the rights to coverage in that country — and we’re also asking which other partners are involved. (We’ll update as and when we find out.)
While this will be appearing in News, the portal will be doing more than just reporting what has happened in the latest events. It will also include a planner for people to figure out what is showing when, and let you add events you want to watch to your calendar.
Live streams and fully replays of specific events will link directly to the NBC Sports app, Apple says, while clips from events can be watched within the Apple News app.
There will also be a medal tracker and morning roundups for those in timezones that are far from where the games are taking place.
The news comes a day after Google launched its own series of Olympics coverage and features, and speaks to how those in the business of tech but outside the traditional business of media are looking to get their own share of audience around the Olympics, which is one of the most-watched sporting events in the world.
It is not clear why Apple has chosen to put its Olympics coverage in “For You”. I have two guesses. On the one hand, it will give a little more attention to “For You” section: Apple has never detailed how much it is used compared to the rest of Apple News but I’m guessing less than what’s at the top of the app when you first open it. On the other hand, the Olympics has mainstream interest and so putting Winter Olympics into the sports section might mean that a wider range of users may never see it.
Apple itself has been making several moves to beef up its own content plays, aiming to have more exclusivity and ownership of what it provides on its own video and music services as a way of differentiating them and potentially making them more attractive for consumers to pay to use. Sports has not really been a huge focus in that context, although Apple did add a dedicated Sports tab to Apple TV in September, perhaps laying the groundwork for this and many more activities down the line.