Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I, For One, Welcome Our New MLB Smartphone Overlords

Enhanced Content Woo!
According to Ad Age, MLB is testing in-park sensors to give their smart phone-carrying fans extra content, depending on where they are in the park. The app will welcome fans when they enter the game, give them the option to see "historical tales" and "enhance sponsor messages and display ad content." As with many, um, innovative? ideas, the Mets are going to go first, with other pilot teams expected to follow as soon as they see that Any Money At All can be made from this.

The first thing I have to say about this is, well, thank heavens. I don't know about you, but the dearth of advertising opportunities inside an MLB stadium was really starting to worry me, and the idea that I might be able to not get advertising on a phone where I'm potentially paying to see them through data charges is just, well, completely un-American. Plus, now that there's another differentiation to keep me from just watching a game that I, you know, paid for... that does not in any way, make me want to stay the hell home, eat my own food and drink for a pittance of the price, while avoiding parking and traffic. Because, hey, who doesn't mark out for historical tales?

But the fun doesn't stop there. Remember those great experiences you had as a kid in half-empty stadiums watching the game from different sections. as bored vendors did their level best to ignore you? The in-stadium location tracker enhances that in a big way. Some of the best moments I've ever had as a parent with a little kid at A's games were spent teaching her about when and where you could help yourselves to a seat upgrade in an increasingly empty Oakland Coliseum. Changing to an equivalent location but on the other side of the arena, just to buy yourself an extra inning of interest from a little kid? No harm, no foul. Backing up to get away from loud and awful road fans? Simple survival.

Easing your way up after a rain delay empties out the place, or taking the upgrade when it becomes obvious that the game is a serious underdraw, and your little one is ready to do anything to get a foul ball? Help yourself! The app will just add up a bill that, thanks to the miracle of modern technology, doesn't even have to show up until you leave the stadium, never to return. After all, someone's got to pay for that app and historical tales content creation, and it might as well be you, you lovable little felons.

So enjoy the game. And by all means, bring your smartphone for an enhanced experience!

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