T-Mobile-MLB partnership - Main 1

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The introduction of point-of-view cameras in sports is likely to be welcomed by virtual and augmented reality users, not to mention the majority of those who have never tried either technology

Quick read

➨ The new MLB AR app, created in partnership between T-Mobile and MLB, will give fans an immersive experience during the Home Run Derby taking place from 12 July
➨ New features for the augmented reality app are planned, including additional 3D stadium representations and more for big moments
➨ T-Mobile is also delivering live, first-person views of batting practice and the event itself through 5G-integrated point-of-view cameras mounted on players’ hats and catchers’ masks

The story

T-Mobile, a prominent 5G network provider in the US, is combining this technology with augmented reality and point-of-view cameras to upgrade the Major League Baseball (MLB) fan experience.

The new MLB AR app, created in partnership between T-Mobile and MLB, will give fans an immersive experience during the Home Run Derby taking place from 12 July.

T-Mobile-MLB partnership - AR app 1
Anyone who downloads the dedicated augmented reality app can view Coors Field in Denver, Colorado

A part of the MLB All-Star Week, the T-Mobile Home Run Derby kicks off at 8pm ET on ESPN. Anyone who downloads the dedicated augmented reality app can view Coors Field in Denver, Colorado, in 3D and interact with the live action, such as tracking ball trails as they are hit, receiving statistics, and more.

T-Mobile customers with 5G devices will get bonus content, including extra statistics and the ability to watch replays. 

New features for the augmented reality app are planned, including additional 3D stadium representations and more for big moments.

T-Mobile-MLB partnership - AR app 1 (2)
T-Mobile customers with 5G devices will get bonus content, including extra statistics and the ability to watch replays. 

Live, synchronised HD video and audio media

As part of their partnership, T-Mobile is also delivering live, first-person views of batting practice and the event itself through 5G-integrated point-of-view cameras mounted on players’ hats and catchers’ masks.

T-Mobile says this will be the first time 5G-embedded wearable cameras have ever been integrated into a professional sports league’s headline event.

The cameras themselves, created in partnership with ActionStreamer, will also be the first ever to deliver live, synchronised HD video and audio media over 5G.

T-Mobile-MLB partnership - Matt McCartney

Mike Sievert, chief executive officer of T-Mobile, says: “We’re excited to show everyone what an amazing 5G network can do by putting fans smack-dab in the middle of the All-Star Week action—and not just T-Mobile customers, but all baseball fans, all across the country.”

“We’ll continue partnering with MLB to reinvent new fan experiences unlocked by our 5G network, through the MLB AR app and beyond, so fans can truly see what the future of baseball could look like. It’s going to be epic, and this is only the beginning!”

The introduction of point-of-view cameras in sports is likely to be welcomed by virtual and augmented reality users, not to mention the majority of those who have never tried either technology and whose expectations are probably higher, Until now, immersive sports experiences have lacked this feature, putting fans in virtual stadiums rather than on the field or pitch among the athletes.

Sky Sports in the UK, for example, enables soccer fans to view certain Premier League matches from multiple perspectives in virtual reality. There is no player point of view, however, and the technology is only being deployed for certain fixtures, such as Arsenal vs Leeds United in February.

In Sky Sports’s defence, it has taken four years of work to get to this point of delivering a sports fan experience in virtual reality (via Oculus), indicating that there is both the will and innovation to bring much more immersion.

Speaking in February, Miheer Walavakar, co-founder and chief executive officer of Sky Sports partner LiveLike, said: “Our work with Sky is the culmination of four years of effort and testing. To do this with the leading broadcaster and top global league is affirming of our comprehensive, customizable unique immersive experience and viewing capabilities.”

Matt McCartney, head of immersive technology at Sky, added: “Sky Worlds is a fantastic example of how technology can help replicate real-life experiences and create truly transformative viewing experiences, something that is so important right now given the limitations fans have attending live events in person.”

VRWorldTech cannot wait to see what the MLB immersive experience is like next week. Have you tried any immersive sports experiences? What did you think? Let us know via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or editor@vrworldtech.com.

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Images: T-Mobile

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