A new day in entertainment and technology is here, with streaming video now added to the award-winning MLB.com At Bat 2009 application on the iPhone and iPod touch devices -- at no additional cost to current subscribers. Being able to watch live games this way means every known viewing platform is covered -- TV (cable/satellite), computer (MLB.TV) and now mobile.
The first live games were introduced last week, and they were scheduled to continue Monday with Cubs at Braves and Rockies at Angels. Up to two live games will be available per day, subject to blackout restrictions, in MLB.com At Bat 2009.
Shortly after the launch of live games, it is expected that MLB.com will roll out the entire slate of out-of-market games currently offered through its premier live streaming video product, MLB.TV Premium, as part of MLB.com At Bat 2009. It is about to become a new way of life, and it will be offered throughout this postseason.
"It's hard to express how cool the new streaming technology really is," said Chad Evans, mobile product manager at MLB Advanced Media. "Being able to watch a live game on your phone for the first time -- I think everyone here's really excited about that.
"I'm hoping there will be a generation of kids that grew up saying, 'Oh yeah, I got box scores and watched games on my phone -- it was just part of the experience of baseball.'"
The unique addition of live baseball games will be the premier feature among the new MLB.com At Bat 2009 features enabled by the new iPhone OS 3.0 update. If you already have the app, then this is a free upgrade. You will need to download the new Apple 3.0 operating software on your device. If you don't have MLB.com At Bat 2009 yet, then order it now at the iTunes App Store for just $9.99 to watch live games the rest of the season.
Leveraging standards-based http streaming technology, MLB.com will deliver high-quality video with adaptive bit rate and DVR functionalities over either a Wi-Fi connection or the carrier network, providing for a truly portable viewing experience. The app also offers live audio broadcasts without blackout restrictions, a continuously updated scoreboard, MLB.com Gameday functionality, real-time video highlights and Condensed Games, a short-form video recap of the most important hits, pitches and outs of every game.
Blackout restrictions will apply for MLB.com At Bat 2009, using GPS technology.
"This is another way for us to expand the full Major League Baseball experience to what's available with technology," said Adam Ritter, vice president of wireless at MLBAM. "It's the first time that a mobile device offers the ability to enforce our blackout restrictions, and gives us the necessary tools to deliver a quality streaming service on a device, using Apple's new streaming technology."
In advance of making every game available within the app, which is expected to happen in the short term, the MLB.com editorial staff will be choosing two games per day and will do so to ensure that fans of all 30 clubs can see their favorite teams via this portable viewing experience. Here is the schedule for upcoming games with live video streaming, subject to change (all times Eastern):
- Sunday, June 21: Rays at Mets | Yankees at Marlins
- Monday, June 22: Cubs at Braves | Rockies at Angels
- Tuesday, June 23: Phillies at Rays, 7:08 p.m. | Giants at A's, 10:05 p.m.
- Wednesday, June 24: Yankees at Braves, 7 p.m. | Rockies at Angels, 10:05 p.m.
- Thursday, June 25: Dodgers at White Sox, 2:05 p.m. | Rangers at D-backs, 9:40 p.m.
- Friday, June 26: Cubs at White Sox, 4:05 p.m. | Red Sox at Braves, 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, June 27: Twins at Cardinals, 1:10 p.m. | Yankees at Mets, 7:10 p.m.
- Sunday, June 28: Reds at Indians, 1:05 p.m. | Mariners at Dodgers, 4:10 p.m.
- Monday, June 29: Cubs at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. | Rockies at Dogers, 10:10 p.m.
- Tuesday, June 30: Mariners at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. | Astros at Padres, 10:05 p.m.
- Wednesday, July 1: Mets at Brewers, 2:05 p.m. | Phillies at Braves, 7:00 p.m.
- Thursday, July 2: Mets at Pirates, 12:35 p.m. | Giants at Cardinals, 7:15 p.m.
- Friday, July 3: Blue Jays at Yankees, 1:05 p.m. | Dodgers at Padres, 10:05 p.m.
Both New York clubs are featured in the Sunday scheduling as a tribute to that big day for the New York market, which is a sports fan's paradise along with the scheduled final rounds of the U.S. Open on Long Island.
MLB.com At Bat 2009 remains the top-selling sports application and also ranks among the top 100 overall paid applications more than two months after becoming available.
The success of the MLB.com At Bat 2009 app has been sort of a happening this season. It is consistently among the top-selling apps, translating perfectly to the medium, and this incorporation of live broadcast video is what many subscribers have been asking for. Evans said it became obvious during the last postseason that this app was going to be a walk-off homer.
"I was in San Francisco last year during the World Series, Phillies vs. Rays, and I was waiting for a flight to come home at an airport," Evans said. "There were a bunch of Philly fans watching the game on TV. In the middle of the game, the iPhone commercial that we did came on, and they all pull out their iPhones and download the app right there. They're all excited, because they can go take the app with them when they get on the plane and not miss anything at the World Series as they're about to take off and go home."
The 2009 World Series is still a long way off. There are many, many games to watch along the way, and now there is a brand-new way to watch them.
Baseball just pioneered another new live viewing method in sports.
This one is out there now, for the entire world to see.