Dodgers and Padres fans will have more to look forward to on opening day than just baseball. The MLBAM (the interactive media and internet branch of the MLB) on Friday announced that it has completed iBeacon installations at both Dodger Stadium and Petco Park in California. These are the first two of more than 20 ballparks that will deploy iBeacons by the start of the 2014 season.
“Our top priority always has been to build technology to support our clubs and fans with an unrivaled experience in these world-class facilities,” Adam Ritter, SVP of wireless for MLBAM, said in a statement. “The introduction of iBeacon services in our At The Ballpark app will be the latest evolution in this process, giving us another important platform to engage fans with their surroundings and to enjoy customized experiences through their iPhones.”
65 iBeacons are now affixed throughout Dodger Stadium and Petco Park. iBeacon is a technology Apple introduced with iOS 7 that uses Bluetooth 4.0 for geofencing and micro-location awareness.
When a fan is at the ballpark and using the MLBAM’s At the Ballpark app with a compatible device, the iBeacons can automatically push relevant messages to them depending on where they are in the park. Near the concession stand? You might get a coupon. Or it your ticket barcode might appear on your phone as you near the park entrance and provide you with a map to your seats.
The MLBAM is prepping an update to its At the Ballpark app with iBeacon support to be released ahead of opening day. Full details on what those updates include will be announced next month.
In September the MLBAM demonstrated possible uses for the technology at Citi Field in New York. Red Sox IT director Steve Conley told my colleague Barb Darrow the team is looking install iBeacons at Fenway Park as well. This presents some unique challenges since Yawkey Way, one of its busiest gates, also doubles as a city street. “We are researching how to do this and MLBAM will be coming in February for a site visit to see if it will work,” he said.
Additional iBeacon installations at MLB ballparks will be announced as they are completed.