The Apple Watch – what could it mean for sports marketing?

Yesterday, amid a plethora of news about the new MacBook Pros and a Game of Thrones trailer debut, Apple gave us a little more insight into the type of apps we can expect to see on the new Apple Watch when it launches this April.

As they rolled through the almost mandatory demonstration of social apps, we started to get a feeling of what Apple are really driving at for the primary use of the app. Engadget referred to the usage scenario as ’10 second bursts’ - engage with the Watch for longer than 10 seconds and you should really be pulling out your phone. Whilst Apple haven't been implicit in their primary use scenario of the device (perhaps because the stark nature is that the phone will become less important), the beauty of the device lies in short-form, informative content; or ‘micro-experiences’ as I'm going to coin them.

The combination of location awareness and haptic feedback is a killer feature for us sports marketeers. I give a football example for reference; imagine you're into the final few minutes of a crucial league match and you're sweating on the result of your local rival's equally important match down the road.

Your watch knows your location, and knows that your a football fan through the apps on your phone in your pocket. If you’ve shown a preference for a particular team, it’s fair to assume that the watch could also know who your sporting rivals are.

Imagine if your wrist buzzed, you glance down at your watch, and see that your rivals have just lost with the last kick of the game - leaving you smug in the knowledge that your team are now in the clear. You know all this without needing to even look at your phone - cool right? Contextually aware apps are in the marketplace already, and sports teams and stadiums are doing some excellent work with beacons to create that all encompassing experience for fans; they all require physically removing your phone from your pocket though.

For sports marketeers, this is just the start for a far more immersive experience; both at sporting events and outside of them. No longer will we just be talking about the second screen experience, but the contextual micro experience, a persistent state of connectivity that encourages the 'hyper-connected' customer. The change to that micro experience could be subtle as well; the sub-conscious glance we give our existing watch throughout the day could suddenly start to deliver so much more that it is a genuine possibility that we could see a decline in mobile usage for information consumption on the go.

Only time will tell if Apple can succeed in driving the take-up of wearable technology, but like history has shown; whilst Apple are rarely first to market, they have a habit of refining the solution and packaging it in a slicker fashion than their competitors. To quote Apple's own propaganda:

Apple Watch represents a new chapter in the relationship people have with technology. It’s the most personal product we’ve ever made, because it’s the first one designed to be worn.

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