The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro are almost here. As one of the world’s great sporting events begins, television is preparing for a top-to-bottom Olympics blitz. Here in the United States, NBC is advertising Olympics coverage nearly every third minute, and other broadcasters are doing the same in their respective countries.
But we’re in a modern, wired world. The question remains: What’s the best way to keep track of the Olympics on your smartphone or tablet?
Unfortunately, the “official” apps for the Olympics aren’t the best. The International Olympic Committee’s The Olympics – Official App is plagued by poor reviews in both its Android and iOS editions, and the Rio 2016 app, while easier to use, has usability issues that might turn off most casual users. In order to find out about the latest goings-on at the Olympics, it’s best to turn to third-party apps.
The good news? Appmakers have come up with some amazing products for 2016.
The BBC, which is broadcasting the Olympics in the U.K., has had a top-notch sports app out for quite some time. Well designed and with a great interface, users might enjoy the “My Sport” feature: It’s easy to customize BBC Sport to send push notifications on results and news from your favorite Olympic competitions. However, some reviewers complain that the app’s default settings are too push notification-happy.
ESPN’s mobile product is one of the best smartphone apps, period. It’s popular for good reason: Disney’s poured money into creating an easy-to-use, frequently updated, and friendly-to-the-eyes app. Although ESPN isn’t the broadcaster of choice for the games, their app is a great way to receive timely Olympics updates and news.
Google’s mobile apps are getting an Olympic makeover. New functionality has been added to the Google app that let users browse event schedules, athlete information, and score updates, view television schedules in more than 30 countries, and receive Google Search Trends updates surrounding the Olympics.
NBC Olympics: Rio News & Results
NBC won the coveted rights to airing the Olympics in the United States, and has created this dedicated app just for the Rio games. While real-time video isn’t part of the equation, users can expect a well-designed app with constantly updated news, results, and additional goodies thanks to the resources of NBC Sports.
Digital video fans are in luck: The NBC Sports iOS and Android apps offer real-time streaming coverage of many Olympic events. There’s only one catch: Watching the video feeds for an extended length of time requires subscription to a cable or satellite service; cord cutters are limited to a few minutes of viewing before the paywall comes in.
Rio 2016 Social Hub
Ironically, the International Olympic Committee’s least-promoted app is by far the most helpful one they offer. The puzzlingly Android-only Rio 2016 Social Hub contains links to the verified Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook feeds of competing Olympics–it’s an easy way to follow your favorite athlete on social media.