Major League Baseball Takes Apple’s iBeacons Out to the Ball Game
It appears that Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) technology will soon become an integral part of America’s favorite pastime. Major League Baseball will begin installing Apple’s iBeacons in baseball stadiums around the U.S. next week, according to an insider source cited by MacRumors. Twenty different stadiums will be equipped with approximately 100 iBeacons each by the beginning of baseball season at the end of March. Participating baseball teams include Boston, Milwaukee, San Diego, LA Dodgers, and San Francisco, reports MacRumors.
Apple’s iBeacon technology uses the Bluetooth Low Energy communications standard to send notifications to mobile devices based on their proximity to a transmitter. Since the technology does not depend on the availability of a cellular signal, it is ideally suited for indoor locations. The Bluetooth-based technology also allows the system to more accurately pinpoint a user’s location than GPS can.
According to MacRumors, Major League Baseball will use the iBeacon system to power its MLB.com At the Ballpark app. As noted in the app’s iTunes description, the At the Ballpark app “perfectly complements and personalizes your trip with mobile check-in, social media, offers, rewards, and exclusive content. Select MLB ballparks also offer mobile food ordering and seat and experience upgrade components.”
The app will also take advantage of the iBeacon technology’s micro-location capabilities by navigating users to their seats in the stadium. According to MacRumors’ source, Major League Baseball’s iBeacon system will initially focus on improving the fan experience rather than directly creating revenue. However, the source also noted that the iBeacon system had plenty of potential for creating additional revenue for ballparks via mobile-based sales of merchandise or food.
Although the use of iBeacons is becoming more widespread, Major League Baseball’s stadium installations will be the biggest implementation of Apple’s iBeacon system since Apple installed the devices in all 254 of its own retail locations across the U.S. Macy’s (NYSE:M) also uses iBeacon technology in several of its retail locations, while American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO) announced that it would begin using the technology in 100 stores next month.
Major League Baseball is not the only sports organization to look into the use of Apple’s iBeacon technology. As recently reported by the New York Times, the National Football League has installed iBeacons in MetLife Stadium and Times Square for use during Super Bowl XLVIII. The NFL will use the system to transmit personalized advertising messages to football fans based on their location. Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) is exploring a similar use of the system for a marketing campaign during the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil, reports The Drum.
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