Major League Baseball Is Installing Apple iBeacons at 20 Ballparks

By Josh Wolonick  JAN 31, 2014 9:51 AM

Additionally, the NFL will introduce a limited number of the devices to Metlife Stadium for this weekend's Super Bowl.

 


According to a report from MacRumors yesterday afternoon, 20 Major League Baseball stadiums will be equipped with Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iBeacon technology by March 31, the MLB's opening day. The Apple iBeacon is a small device that uses Bluetooth Low Energy protocol to provide two-way wireless communication, meaning it can interact with smartphones or other wireless devices when they come within a certain distance of the beacon. According to the Apple publication's sources, the ballparks, which include those in Boston, Milwaukee, San Diego, LA (the Dodgers), and San Francisco, among others, will be equipped with about 100 Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM)-sourced iBeacons each.

This will be the largest rollout of iBeacons since Apple introduced the devices to every one of its 254 American retail stores last December.

Typically, the technology has been used to send exclusive coupons or special deals to users within the vicinity of the beacon, all the while gathering data on customers. However, MacRumors reported that the MLB's intentions are not to make money with the devices, at least in a direct sense. According to its source, "Time is more valuable than money," and the MLB is taking a "longer range view." The beacons will be used to make the customer experience more efficient. For now, it seems that each ballpark, and not the MLB, will be responsible for how it uses the devices.

The iBeacons will work in tandem with the MLB's In the Ballpark app, which allows users to keep track of their tickets and special deals on concessions and merchandise.

Not to be outdone by the MLB, the NFL is actually introducing a limited number of iBeacons in MetLife Stadium and Times Square for this weekend's Super Bowl. The New York Times reported that those beacons will be used primarily for helping users to get to their specific entry gates, and to guide tourists in New York City between different attractions in the Midtown area.

More from Minyanville:

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The Big Game: How to Value and Trade Your 2014 Super Bowl Squares


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