You can already use your smartphone as a ticket to get into a baseball game. And now with an update to Major League Baseball’s At the Ballpark app for iOS and Android, the app will now let those who aren’t satisfied with their seats to get better ones right from their phone, even after the game has already started.
The app was built with the help of a company called Experience, and it uses fans’ personal preferences to offer them seats they might like better based on the real-time inventory of tickets available. For MLB, the effort is designed as another way to let fans “personalize their ballpark experiences.”
With the new “upgrade seat” button in the app, teams can offer better or simply different seats based on a particular fan’s preferences. Those preferences are culled from information the fan has already shared with MLB — either through ticket purchases, check-ins at the game within the app, etc. So if, for example, you bought four tickets in the outfield, the app can offer you four tickets closer to home plate. Teams might also use the seat-upgrade function to entice fans to special seating sections — areas with access to specific food options or more exclusive sponsored areas. The pricing is determined by the team, and they can choose to offer the upgrades for discounts during the game.
The first teams to offer this service at their stadiums will be the Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Minnesota Twins and the Oakland A’s. The service will go live in April.
The At the Ballpark app debuted before the 2012 season as a way for fans to check in to stadiums to receive offers like discounted food and drinks and team apparel, as well as buy tickets, order food and share on social media. The ticket upgrade feature is just one of the ways MLB is using mobile tech to reach fans. The 2013 season, which begins March 31, will also see 13 MLB teams using Apple’s Passbook feature for iPhone as a way to accept mobile tickets on game days.