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How football associations benefit from What’s the Score, Bro? - the referee app for the Apple Watch

Do football referees wear the Apple Watch? The simple answer is: Yes. Ever since the ten-year partnership between Major League Soccer and Apple was launched in 2023, the world's most successful smartwatch has also been spotted on the wrists of the referees.

All Major League Soccer referees wear an Apple Watch Ultra on the pitch thanks to the ten-year partnership with Apple.

The MLS referees are in good company: over 50 million Apple Watches were sold worldwide by 2022. Apple's model is the global market leader, as can be seen in the charts. For younger people up to the age of 45, it is increasingly becoming a matter of course to wear smart devices on their wrists, which play to their strengths in the fitness and health segment in particular.

The huge task of finding young talent

Football associations around the world face the challenge of attracting young talent to the refereeing job. There are good arguments in favour of this, but it cannot be denied that referees are often subjected to disrespect. It is therefore important to understand what drives and motivates potential referees. This was first investigated in 2023 in the study ‘Early career and seasoned referees: contrasting motivation, perceptions of organisational support and intention to continue‘ by Javeed Ali, Michael Naylor, Lesley Ferkins & Tom Stewart. It comes to the conclusion:

There are differences in motivation between early career referees (ECRs) and seasoned referees (SRs). The study found that ECRs had slightly higher mean scores for extrinsic motivation and continued extrinsic motivation compared to SRs, suggesting that ECRs were more influenced by external motives early in their career than later in their career. In addition, continued extrinsic motivation was found to be a significant predictor of intention to continue for ECRs.

What's the Score, Bro? The right incentive for future referees

Football associations offer a relevant incentive for existing or prospective referees through a cooperation with What's the Score, Bro?

  • Using modern technology on the pitch makes refereeing more attractive to young people and increases their willingness to join the field.
  • The app enables referees to carry out their tasks more efficiently, which leads to smoother running of matches and tournaments. Inexperienced referees benefit from the high level of automation of the match report.
  • By introducing innovative technology, associations are demonstrating a willingness to move with the times and meet the needs of their members.
  • Referees experience real appreciation through the offer.

As part of campaigns to attract young talent, Apple Watches can be raffled off and the app can be made available free of charge to all interested participants using an offer code.

Codes for discounted prices or free offers are unique alphanumeric codes that can be easily distributed via physical or digital channels for What's the Score, Bro? Your referees can redeem them on devices with iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 (or newer) via the redemption process in the App Store.

The number of codes can be set as desired. I would be happy to talk to you personally about the various payment models and distribution channels. In addition to the download codes at discounted prices, associations can also take advantage of a sound consultancy service for the implementation of campaigns.

Write to me if you want to do something good for your referees or need a meaningful incentive for recruiting young talent:

Ownership of smartwatches by country in Q1 2023

Percentage of internet users aged 16 to 64 who own a smartwatch in Q1 2023 (Source: GWI)

Young adults are most likely to wear a smartwatch

Percentage of internet users aged 16 to 64 who own a smartwatch in Q1 2023 (Source: GWI)

Almost a third of all smartwatches sold in 2022 came from Apple

In 2022, 30% of all smartwatches sold were from Apple, 10.1% from Samsung and only 4.1% from Garmin. (Source: Counterpoint Research)