For loyal baseball fans who want more perks at the game, the MLB’s app development team has been hard at work updating and tweaking its iBeacon-equipped mobile app “At the Ballpark.”
The interactive app provides special offers on concessions and merchandise for fans attending games, as well as historical facts about the team and ballpark, and other deals and incentives designed to broaden the limits of fan engagement. It’s currently being tested at select stadiums like Citi Field, home of the New York Mets and their old Shea Stadium monument, the Home Run Apple.
When fans approach the Home Run Apple, the app (operating in the background) will be triggered and a video will play, giving a bit of historical context to the strange, hat-sitting apple.
If fans respond favorably, and the technology (Bluetooth Low Energy is the hip, new, hands-off version of QR codes and AR applications) works, other ballparks will take advantage of this application of iOS7’s iBeacon proximity detection technology. This means placing Bluetooth sensors around their stadiums to track fans’ locations, in order to give situation-specific directions or deals in indoor spaces (where GPS would not work).
There are some creepy or annoying caveats (some potential, others active) but the app will function as a compendium of Foursquare/Groupon/Facebook for major baseball fans, giving ballparks and sponsors a much wider breadth of sales opportunities to present to fans who participate frequently and rack up loyalty points. And probably the greatest feature is that all users have to do, for the most part, is sign-in.
One commenter on macrumors.com’s “At the Ballpark” story said:
“As a Texas Rangers season ticket holder and avid baseball fan all I can say is….
This all sounds really stinkin’ cool. iBeacons seem to have much wider applications than NFC. “
Fans will be able to turn off specific features and location services of the background-operating app (just in case they want to experience the game in 20th century fashion) – but chances are that hardcore fans with even moderate mobile savvy will be open to the occasional discount on concessions.
Are you a baseball fan? Have you tried the ‘At the Ballpark’ mobile app yet?