updated 07:30 pm EST, Wed February 27, 2013
Tickets via iPhone soon to be accepted at half of all stadiums
The entity controlling the sport of baseball is making some major league moves in courting iOS owners, particularly those using Apple's "virtual wallet" Passbook app. Major League Baseball (MLB) has announced that it will expand the number of stadiums accepting Passbook electronic tickets to nearly half of all MLB venues over the course of 2013, for a total of 13 stadiums. Last week, the league updated its At Bat 13 app for Spring Training, now including multi-platform live audio and a classic game video archive among many other new features.
The At Bat app, which is available for Android and Kindle Fire as well as iPhone and iPad, now allows subscribers some account portability, letting them listen to games on Macs or PCs as well as across different mobile devices. The update also features an overhauled navigation system, and tablet owners will gain sortable statistics for various abilities (batting, fielding, pitching).
Smartphone owners gain redesigned team pages, a revamped news section, and more video highlight archives. In addition, iPhone users get two exclusive features: push notification options and per-month subscription billing. Support for the new BlackBerry BB10 OS should be available by the start of the regular season, MLB reports. Subscriptions cost $20 per year on mobile devices, up to and including the World Series (with an iOS-only option for $3 per month recurring billing instead). MLB.tv premium subscribers have the At Bat subscription included free as part of their package.
Four MLB teams began accepting tickets for games by scanning iPhones using Passbook last September, and have been joined by six more teams now and three further teams later in the year. As of now, the New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins, Baltimore Orioles, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland A's, Pittsburgh Pirates, Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs will accept Passbook e-tickets at their home stadiums. Three more teams will announce their support later -- one of which is likely to be the Boston Red Sox, which accepted Passbook passes during the playoffs last season.
According to GigaOm, iOS users make up 70 of At Bat users and 85 percent of subscribers to the service. MLB has been previous reported at being very pleased with the uptake of Passbook use for e-ticketing, with strong positive response from users. The e-tickets and Passbook offer more than just advance sales -- they allows buyers to link to related information, for example to see where their seats are in advance, and can include stats on the teams and views of the stadium, along with other information such as driving directions, parking guidance and more.