Over the past two years it’s been interesting to watch the mini battleground going on in Canada between mobile sports apps.
Yesterday theScore made a significant move, announcing a major update to its app for iPhone and iPad. It has changed its news offering “to provide a truly mobile-first, comprehensive, curated and real-time experience for sports fans.” For the theScore, the new update was probably necessary to stay ahead of TSN in luring a significant Canadian sports app user base.. This is a user base that has a high retention rate (especially during hockey season).
Now with a 35-person newsroom in place, theScore is betting on small, short news pieces for users to quickly gobble up. "Fans want a unique experience when it comes to following the stories, leagues, teams and players that matter to them on their mobile devices," said CEO John Levy. "They're looking for quick, bite-sized bursts of information, updated as soon as something happens. So that's what theScore now gives them 24/7."
For quite some time theScore arguably boasted the finest Canadian offering for a sport app, complete with a sleek design and friendly interface. Before April of this year, the media company that easily should have had the best app was TSN, whose television ratings continue to top that of Rogers Sportsnet and theScore. (According the The Star, TSN remains the most watched specialty channel in the country, and its average per-minute audience is 145,000 compared to Sportsnet’s 96,000).
TSN finally released it’s 2.0 version this past spring, which far exceeded anything on the market place in terms of video offerings, stats and yes, a finer design than The Score’s. However, many soccer fans were quick to point out that they still preferred theScore’s app.
Today’s release from theScore’s noted that the update is “one of the biggest updates since its App Store debut in 2008,” something that all sports app users in this country are likely well aware of.
The digital battleground will continue to play out as a fierce one.. While theScore’s mobile platforms are used by an average of 4.5 million monthly unique visitors, TSN’s iPad app remains the most downloaded free sports app.
As well as the theScore app update, Rogers Sportsnet also completely revamped its own website. Rogers is likely betting on original content in both its online and mobile content as a key to forge ahead. TSN often uses newswire releases, which isn’t always targeting its Canadian user base.
According to the Globe and Mail, theScore also went on a highering spree over the past few months and opening up its new 35-person news room yesterday. “The entire newsroom is powered by software developed in-house, which allows the journalists to piece together a story and have it distributed in as little as 30 seconds,” wrote the Globe. “The same process on the company’s older website took as long as 20 minutes per story as editors struggled with code and other complexities that slowed down the process.”
The theScore is currently available on iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone, however Android users will have to wait until autumn to see some of the new features included in the big update.