Major League Baseball is reaching out to fans on the go everywhere with its first-ever provision of a live game stream and iBeacon-supported interactive ballpark attractions at the 2014 All-Star Game.
Fans with the MLB.com At Bat mobile app can receive live streams of the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game on Sunday, the Gillette Home Run Derby on Monday and the 85th All-Star Game on Tuesday. The moves exemplify how baseball, a 19th century pastoral game criticized as being too slow and too long, has dived into mobile to win new, younger fans as well as older ones lost to sports such as football and basketball.
This is a very aggressive move by MLB to provide the first-ever live stream of the All-Star game and it certainly demonstrates the reality facing every marketer today the need to connect with consumers on their own terms, said Mark Tack, vice president of marketing for Chicago-based Vibes.
A lot of baseball fans would love to watch the All-Star game on TV but won't be able to because they'll be out and about living their busy lives. Mobile is a great solution for enabling consumers to stay connected and tune in no matter where they are.
At the ballpark
MLB.TV premium subscribers can live-stream the midsummer classic with the app and across more than 400 devices.
The game at Target Field in Minneapolis also will launch the second phase of iBeacon technology at MLB ballparks.
Fans attending the All-Star events at Target Field can use an At the Ballpark app on their iPhone to receive features at locations such as the Twins Digital Clubhouse, Herb Carneal Pressbox, the Kirby Puckett Atrium and the Rod Carew Atrium.
In April, MLB Advanced Media, the interactive media and Internet arm of Major League Baseball, completed its first phase of the widespread installation of iBeacon technology with nearly 1,000 iBeacons affixed throughout 28 MLB ballpark.
Fans could automatically check in to every home game and receive offers and rewards. Additional ballparks will be outfitted with new iBeacons to enhance the interactive ballpark experience.
MLB.com and MapQuest recently began collaborating on digital video, in-app integrations and other content intended to enhance baseball and travel experiences, including an original online video series and Gameday Guides available from smartphones (see story.)
Target Field layout detailed in MLB app.
A year ago, MLB got sports fans excited for the Home Run Derby via a mobile game and promotion (see story). MLB Advanced Media, the interactive media and Internet arm of Major League Baseball, had updated its Home Run Derby application while MLBAM launched a sweepstakes for fans.
All 30 MLB teams have official Pinterest pages and have been using them for several years.
For events like the all-star game, iBeacon technology, coupled with Passbook and other apps, is a perfect solution, Mr. Tack said.
It gives consumers what they want, when and where they want it."
Michael Barris is staff reporter with Mobile Marketer, New York.