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Opening day is upon us but don’t expect things to be business as usual. With attendance forecasted to be at 0% for the foreseeable 2020 MLB season. The MLB is estimated to be out close to half of its revenue, forcing the league to innovate quickly or face serious financial hurdles.
In a statement made by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, where he said that MLB was set to be out at least 40% of its usual revenue due to the closure of it’s stadiums to fans. These stadiums generate massive revenue for the league in the form of gate fees, concessions, parking, etc.
This income vacuum has led to the MLB taking a serious look at its financials for the 2020 season and brainstorming to try to make up their income shortfalls.
With no fans in the stands, the league is looking to fill the void that the absence of cheering fans has created with an ‘I Love Lucy’ laugh track approach that will supposedly simulate the murmuring of thousands of fans.
There is also an app branded “Cheer at the Ballpark ” that will enable fans viewing remotely to record their own cheering and upload it enabling the ballpark to crowdsource the cheering to be used in response to the live game.
These apps aren’t the only ones that MLB hopes to use to make up for the lack of fans. This is where the MLB supported app Statcast comes into play. Statcast is an augmented reality app whose technology has been installed in all thirty MLB ballparks.
Statcast will enable a user to view player stats of anyone on the field at any given moment as well as live flight trajectory of fly balls. This app was pushed through with lightning speed and is a giant leap into the future in regards to how fans consume and interact with sports. After the pandemic is over it is nearly a sure thing that this technology will remain in place and even creep over to other organized sports.
Unfazed by the Coronavirus, MLB seems determined to turn its greatest challenge into an opportunity. With everyone stuck watching games from home, MLB is focusing on creating a marketplace where it can get fans to participate in speculating on match outcomes.
MLB representatives have been careful to articulate that this speculation is in no way betting since sports betting is not legal in all 50 states.
As the MLB season progresses we’ll see how these apps develop. It is more than likely that the appearance of these apps will be completely different towards the World Series compared to how they look now since this is all new territory.
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