Post-season is not the only thing Major League Baseball is preparing for
As Major League Baseball prepares for the post-season playoffs, it's also laying the groundwork for teams to take advantage of fans with Bluetooth-enabled smartphones.
MLB is trying out Bluetooth beacons for eventual use in ballparks around the country, according to a report by TechCrunch. Bluetooth beacons are low-energy transmitting devices that use Bluetooth to provide in-venue, location-based information and services to smartphones.
"What we're moving toward is building a platform for any team to put their own custom Bluetooth beacons in their parks," said Chad Evans, MLB mobile product development senior vice president. MLB is currently demoing the Bluetooth beacon concept at the New York Mets' park in Queens, NY.
While still in the preliminary stages, the MLB's Bluetooth beacon technology includes an At Bat app, which provides ticket barcode and seat location. Other apps include videos about ballpark history and coupons for concession stands.
"One has to wonder how much further MLB could take this concept. If you could track app users as they bounded from location to location in a ballpark, you could probably develop a pretty granular profile to help target for ads or other engagement opportunities," observed Chris Velazco with TechCrunch.
Evans expects the Bluetooth beacon program to begin rollout next year, but it may take a while for widespread adoption. For example, older parks like Fenway Park and Wrigley Field have structural issues that could impede the Bluetooth signal and make coverage difficult.
"We're baseball, we're not a small startup. We want to be nimble and quick and take new opportunities, but we also don't want to roll something out that's going to confuse fans," Evans concluded.