Blog Post

With 3M downloads, MLB app hits it out of the park

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

Just a week into Major League Baseball’s 2012 season, the league’s official mobile app is breaking records. At Bat 12, which lets fans check scores and highlights and stream their favorite games live to a mobile device, passed 3 million downloads on Wednesday, the league’s Advanced Media office announced Thursday. Last year’s version of At Bat didn’t reach the same mark until more than four months into the 2011 season.

The 3 million downloads are spread across most major smartphone platforms: Android(s GOOG), BlackBerry(s RIMM), iOS(s AAPL) and Windows Phone(s MSFT). But still, those are impressive numbers. Not Instagram-on-Android kind of numbers (1 million downloads in a day), but Instagram is free.

One of the more fascinating things about At Bat’s success this season is that we’re talking about an app that costs $14.99 if you want it to do anything other than show you game scores. And if you want to use it to its full potential — live stream out-of-market games to your phone or tablet — you need to also pay for the MLB.TV package, which costs $110 or $125 per year. (Those who sign up for the pricier package get the mobile app for free.) And, of course, this is an app that essentially expires when the last out of the 2012 World Series is made.

MLB’s office of Advanced Media has had the video streaming and mobile game figured out far longer any of its American peers in professional sports. But why is this season off to such a hot start? There are a few things users will notice that are different: a more polished look and feel, and the in-app purchase option to upgrade to a variety of different packages.

But At Bat’s success is a great example of what can happen when you combine in-demand content with a fan base that has access to high-speed mobile networks and who carry smartphones and tablets.

A few more stats from MLB about At Bat:

  • Since baseball season officially began April 5, MLB’s mobile apps have seen an average of 800,000 live streams — that’s audio and video combined — per day.
  • At Bat is the top-downloaded iOS sports app ever.
  • At Bat 2012 been the top-downloaded sports app for Android devices for 43 straight days.

5 Responses to “With 3M downloads, MLB app hits it out of the park”

  1. You would think that people that know sports would be able to comprehend local blackouts. Plenty of MLB teams would cease to exist if 30% of their income was not from television contracts. Of course your local team is blacked out. That network contract probably helps pay most of your teams bankroll.

  2. Actually, MLB 2012 is a free download …. you can use in app purchases to get a better experience, but unlike previous years you don’t have to pay the $15 up front … so maybe the big numbers aren’t such a big surprise.

  3. Ian Isanberg

    I wish I could get At Bat 12. I paid for At Bat in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and it was money well spent.

    Why am I not getting it this year? The 2012 iOS version only supports iOS 5, which means it can’t run on my 2008 non-jailbroken iPhone 3G. MLB did the same thing last year, with the 2011 app only for iOS 4, preventing first generation iPhones and iPod Touch devices.

    If MLB continues this trend next year, not only will the iPhone 3G be out of play, but quite possibly the first generation iPad. There are MILLIONS of these devices still in use, which previously could get MLB At Bat, but now can’t. My suggestion for the 2013 edition is to work for one or two prior iOS versions, and not just the original one.

    MLB game audio, however is available on older iOS devices through the SiriusXM app, but only to subscribers that have both a satellite radio and internet radio account.

  4. What a lot of people don’t know is that MLB’s streaming subscription blocks your home teams (the teams playing within x miles of your registration zip code) whether they’re playing at home or away. And they give you 5 days to cancel a subscription. Beware.

    • I’m with Paul on this one. The local blackouts are described in small print and in a way that doesn’t make sense to the average buyer. I’ve had 3 friends all tell me about how awesome this was and didn’t realize they wouldn’t be able to watch the local team live. When I called last year to complain and cancel the service, the MLB.TV rep said that this was their biggest problem and drove everyone nuts!