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New BBC Sport app takes top spot in UK iOS chart hours after launch

The BBC’s new sport app has taken the top spot in the iPhone app chart just hours after launching.

The free app provides up-to-date news and information on nealy 50 sports, and also includes live coverage from several of the corporation’s radio channels, including the sports- and news-oriented 5Live and 5Live Sports Extra. Live and on-demand video highlights will also be added soon, though you’ll have to be located in the UK to make the most of that element of the app.

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The BBC’s Lucie McLean explained on the corporation’s Internet Blog that, like the BBC Olympic app which saw two million downloads over the summer, the new Sport app “is a hybrid app [containing] the same web-based content as the mobile sport website and adds extra features and functionality using native app technology.”

While some links within the app take you to the BBC’s mobile site, McLean promised that developers are currently working on updating these pages to integrate them fully within the new app. Users can quickly and easily customize the app’s Quick Links tab by selecting, removing and re-ordering the available sports.

In a blog post announcing the app’s launch, Ben Gallop, the BBC’s head of interactive, said a third of traffic to its BBC Sport website now comes from mobile devices, rising to 40 percent on the weekend when a large number of events are taking place.

“It won’t be long until most of our audience is accessing our content through handheld devices, which simply reflects the explosion in mobile browsing that is transforming the wider web,” Gallop wrote in the post, adding, “In that context, we want to be able to offer more choice: mobile web or an app, depending on your preference.”

The new app will be rolled out for Android devices in the coming weeks, and a version for Amazon’s range of Kindle Fire tablets is also in the works. “We haven’t ruled out developing the app for other platforms but building apps is expensive and as a publicly-funded organization we have to prioritize the areas where we can reach the most users at the lowest costs,” McLean said.

The BBC Sport app is available from the UK iTunes store and runs on iPhone and iPod touch devices with iOS 5.0 or later.

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