- Major League Baseball is giving fans a way to find information about their favorite teams through Google Assistant, the search giant's voice-powered virtual assistant, for the first time. The league expanded its partnership with interactive search startup Satisfi Labs to provide the conversational experience, per an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer.
- The Atlanta Braves, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Minnesota Twins, Oakland Athletics, Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers are among the 15 teams that are accessible with voice commands. Fans can ask about statistics, schedules, scores, standings and other information at any time.
- Spoken questions such as , "Hey Google, ask the Oakland Athletics what time is the next game?" or "What’s the score of the game right now?" will result in a response from Google Assistant. Android users can activate the experience with phrases including, "Hey Google, talk to the Cleveland Indians" or "Hey Google, chat with the Atlanta Braves." The service is available on any smart speaker or smart display enabled with Google Assistant, according to the announcement.
MLB aims to connect with fans who are unable to attend games in person because of the coronavirus pandemic through another on-demand channel for communication. By letting fans ask Google Assistant for information about their favorite teams, the league is adopting a voice-powered technology that in the past few years has grown more popular among consumers who use virtual assistants on their connected devices.
The percentage of U.S. consumers ages 12 or older who own smart speakers grew to 27% this year from 23% in 2019, translating into an audience of 76 million people, according to a study by Edison Research and Triton. About 48% of people use voice-operated personal assistants on their smartphones, while 26% use them on a smart speaker, giving organizations like baseball teams a way to engage fans with an on-demand audio experience.
MLB is the latest organization to develop content that consumers can access through virtual assistants. Snack brand Moon Pie this year created a voice-powered app for Amazon Alexa, the e-commerce giant's virtual assistant, to entertain people who were stuck at home during pandemic lockdowns. The app acted as a "virtual roommate" that answered questions and held lengthy conversations about a range of topics, while providing more information about Moon Pie marshmallow sandwiches. Software maker Adobe, Procter & Gamble's Herbal Essences hair care brand and Nabisco's Oreo also have developed voice-enabled content to interact with consumers.