Apple's iBeacons hitting a Grand Slam in 2014 with Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball has already dabbled with Apple's iBeacons at Citi Field in New York, but now it looks set to roll out across the league. According to MacRumors, by Opening Day this season, 20 stadiums across the U.S. will have been fitted out:
The league is looking to have twenty parks outfitted with roughly 100 iBeacons each by Opening Day at the end of March. Boston, Milwaukee, San Diego, LA Dodgers, and San Francisco are among the teams that will have iBeacons installed.
The iBeacons work in tandem with the MLB At The Ballpark app for iPhone, which will also be primed and ready by opening day. Most interestingly, the same source goes on to explain that the use of iBeacons isn't revenue driven:
The main purpose of the iBeacons, according to our source, is to improve the fan experience -- not make money. The league is taking a "longer range view" and iBeacon isn't designed to drive revenue in a direct sense. "Time is more valuable than money", so MLB wants to make the fan experience "as efficient as possible". It is looking to eliminate time wasters like waiting in line at the will call window, and it doesn't want fans wandering the ballpark looking for their seats.
iBeacons are a perfect fit for this kind of venue. NFC wouldn't work – even if the iPhone had it – because of the proximity required to the sensor, while GPS just doesn't work that great indoors. With a range of up to 50 feet and using Bluetooth Low Energy, iBeacons is a definite winner for a busy ball park for the type of interaction laid out here.
So, given all this, do you think iBeacons can genuinely enhance your experience at the ball game this season? Perhaps more so if you're a visiting fan? Sound off in the comments below!