When international sports came to a halt because of the global pandemic, teams, leagues, and media owners scrambled to keep fans engaged. Over the past five months, we’ve seen sports return and it has been very different. As some leagues and teams are now allowing limited fans to attend, we are still many months or longer away from fans attending live events as they did before the pandemic.

We’ve seen fans' needs change significantly since the start of the pandemic, as they look for new ways to engage with their favorite sports, teams, and players. These teams and leagues will need to identify new ways to engage fans by using the right technologies throughout the entire customer journey.

What are App Clips?

App Clips are iOS 14's new timesaving alternative to traditional app downloads. These mini versions of apps give users access to a select feature of an app without having to wait for a full download. A single app may have multiple "clips" for its different features.

Users don’t search the App Store for an App Clip. Instead, they discover it when and where they need it, launching the App Clip via

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, tapping a link shared in a text message, a suggestion from Siri, a link in the Maps app, or a Smart App Banner on a website.

Think of it as a preview or shortcut. App Clips give users the option to try an app before downloading it. Users will be able to start and finish an experience in seconds. And when they’re done, you can offer your full app for full download from the App Store.

What are the advantages of an App Clip?

App Clips remove many of the barriers users encounter trying to access a native app they haven’t downloaded yet. They are small and don’t take up visual or virtual space and are most often discovered contextually without distractions.

We see App Clips being drivers for ad revenue, content revenue, content sharing, companion/augmented viewing experiences, and driving downloads of your app.

How can sports and media utilize App Clips now?

We believe sports and media owners can utilize App Clips in a number of ways. Below are four use cases to start.

  • Companion highlight viewing - Rather than bombarding viewers with messages to “download the app”, fans watching a live event on television would ‘never miss a moment’ or could ‘catch up to live’ by scanning the occasional TV banner with embedded QR code, taking them directly to highlights they might have missed.
  • Instant highlight sharing - Viewers could instantly share a highlight with their friends via text message or direct them to a live event. Recipients would view content seemingly within the same message thread.
  • Free Previews - Unauthenticated viewers are taken to free preview streaming. Along with a countdown clock, viewers have the option to instantaneously buy the event or subscription via Apple Pay. Upon purchase or after preview ends, they will be encouraged (but not required) to download the app.
  • Contextual linking to tickets or merchandise - Alongside video content, viewers arriving in the App Clip would see links to buy tickets or merchandise.

These are only a few use cases for Apple’s new App Clips. We believe technologies like this will not only help fans engage real time with sports today, but well into the future once fans return to stadiums.

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