Major League Baseball and Second Screen

22 Apr 15

My beloved Red Sox won last night against the Rays so here’s hoping for another win tonight. When watching baseball I’m constantly impressed with the speed of baseball pitches because it’s one man’s arm doing all the work. But when you pull back from the game to look at everything else going on, that’s when I’m really impressed – the commentators, the TV, radio, web broadcasts, the betting, the social and newsfeeds, the stats. All of that information is happening at an amazing pace and for many of us; we now want that information not just in our living room, but on the go.

According to an article in Techhive recently about the start of the MLB season:

“… don’t limit your enjoyment to watching the game in person or on your living-room big screen. These days, apps running on a second screen – a smartphone or tablet – are becoming as integral to watching the game as cold beer and peanuts. A second screen enhances your experience in ways that just aren’t possible any other way, delivering everything from analysis, player stats, and interactive features to tools for communicating with other fans watching the game.”

There are a plethora of baseball apps available, including ‘MLB at Bat’ which allows users to see breaking news, player stats, scores, standings, schedules. You can also receive push notifications to alert you to game starts, leads and score changes, and in-game video highlights. Even more extensive, in the premium version, is access to games, real-time box scores with pitch-by-pitch tracking and more. ESPN is another popular app that keeps you supplied with a steady stream of injury reports, contract signings, and other breaking news from around the league.  Thirdly, ‘Beyond the Box’, which delivers a timeline around your favorite sport. It’s powered by Twitter and Instagram and pulls from thousands of sources – local and national media, fan blogs etc. – to surround you with endless baseball chatter.

I think these apps have hit the nail on the head in terms of the rocketing trend that is second screen. It has become an integral part of watching baseball – viewers are looking for ways they can share in the experience and consume while watching the game. The fact that MLB  has the highest season attendance of any sports league in the world with more than 74 million spectators, presents a massive opportunity to engage and gain revenue with all of these sports fans and viewers.

It is absolutely fundamental that you ensure your business is benefiting from these end users consuming and engaging on their mobile device. That requires performance, speed and scale. So what should you consider when thinking about the opportunities of second screen?

The following three tips should offer some guidance on how best to ensure second screen success:

  1. In-Sync Conversations. Conversations need to be in sync between you and your customer, the TV and the second screen. As a result, you could have multiple data sources trying to stay in step, in real-time. You need the ability to cope with mashups of different source data so you can deliver rich content. And when you offer rich content that means your conversations are engaging; and engaging conversations equals customer stickiness.
  1. Live Targeted One-to-One Advertising. Done in a message appropriate, timely professional manner, with user preferences in place, personalized advertising can have a dramatic effect on your bottom line. Just make sure you have the right messages for the right audience, that you have their permission and allow them to opt-out. Get your messages there in a timely manner, but also think about when they will be most receptive. Also, avoid trivial updates.
  1. Support for Any Device. It shouldn’t matter what device your customers are using to engage with you; you need to support it through your web and mobile application. As mobile traffic grows, mobile devices become increasingly fragmented. With a huge variety of screen sizes, operating systems and capabilities, it is essential for your website, mobile apps and systems to detect and react to the specific device your customers are using.


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