Why baseball needs Wi-Fi
As baseball season begins, a couple of interesting articles point to the impact of technology on the sport's future. Forbes says stadium attendance faces a major threat from broadband Internet streams. The New York Times, meanwhile, notes that the source of this streaming--MLB.com--is "big business" for baseball.
What does this mean? If baseball teams want to keep from being fleeced, they need to embrace technology themselves, with everything from free wireless connections in the stands to virtual tours of seats that are up for sale. When some stadiums began offering free Wi-Fi connections a few years ago, such as AT&T Park in San Francisco, some people wondered why anyone would want to use their computers while at a ballgame. But anyone familiar with baseball fanaticism knows that statistics are its lifeblood, as well as the ability to keep track of multiple games simultaneously--all of which can be accomplished in real-time only with some form of portable device connected to the Internet.
Professional sports already have a role model in the use of technology to enhance and promote events: NASCAR owes its huge growth in popularity at least in part to technology, embracing everything from satellite radio and high-definition television to partnerships with mobile phone companies. The rest of the sporting world needs to follow suit.
Blog community response:
"Featuring audio, video, plenty of stories, and features, Nascar.com reflects in many ways the success enjoyed by Major League Baseball's own site (www.mlb.com). Baseball fans can't really get any better comprehensive coverage of the sport than at MLB.com, and the same can be said for Nascar."
"No matter where in the world you may be, technology is going to allow you to follow your favorite team or athlete no matter where in the world they may be at the moment of, at--and even after--the event, and increasingly via the device of your choice. People's behavior and the technology opportunity will certainly have to catch up with one another and make some adjustments, but the best news of all is that fans are going to be able to become a more integral partner in the experience, making the convergence of technology and sports the new team to watch."
"On a note related to Jared's post about laptopsÂ…this post has been produced on a laptop. Other windows open at the present time: ESPN SportsNation Fantasy Baseball Chat, Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Baseball Plus (Law School League), Baseball Prospectus, The Wall Street Journal, and Deadspin.com."