07/24/09 9:21 AM EST
Catch every game live on the go
MLB.TV, At Bat 2009 combine in an unprecedented way
By Mark Newman / MLB.com
He just learned the news about MLB.TV and MLB.com At Bat 2009 hooking up.
"As a complete workaholic, I spend more time at the office than I care to admit," the East Rutherford, N.J., resident said in an email to MLB.com. "My normal routine of using MLB.com At Bat audio on my iPhone to listen to the start of night games and then racing home to log on and finish the game in HD using MLB.TV will now get a significant upgrade with the news of MLB.com At Bat carrying every game live on my iPhone. I was happy with just the audio and now I'm ecstatic for video access to every game wherever I am. I consider myself a modern, technically savvy baseball fan and I'm still amazed every time I pull out my phone to watch a Sox game. We are truly living in the future."
The latest example of that was announced Tuesday by MLB Advanced Media and Apple. In an unprecedented move, MLB.TV and MLB.TV Premium subscribers now have live access to every out-of-market Major League Baseball game through the award-winning At Bat 2009 application on the iPhone and iPod touch, as well as on their computers. Effective immediately, MLB.com will make available every live game through MLB.com At Bat 2009, exclusively to those subscribers with MLB.TV accounts.
For those who do not subscribe to MLB.TV, MLB.com will continue to make two games per day available for all At Bat 2009 subscribers, subject to blackout restrictions.
MLB.TV and MLB.TV Premium subscribers can access every out-of-market game in high quality video over either a Wi-Fi connection or the carrier network as part of At Bat 2009. Leveraging standards-based https streaming technology enabled by the iPhone OS 3.0 update, the MLB.com app includes controls to give users the ability to pause a game or rewind the action. Additionally, adaptive bitrate technology is constantly working automatically to give users the highest quality viceo stream their network connection can support.
The application also offers live audio broadcasts without blackout restrictions, a continuously updated scoreboard, MLB.com Gameday functionality, real-time video highlights and Condensed Games, a short-form video recap of every payoff pitch from every game.
"The news is, if you're an MLB.TV subscriber -- and that's about 350,000 right now -- and it's out-of-market, you can now watch any live game you want on your iPhone," Bob Bowman, CEO of MLB Advanced Media, said in an appearance on Jim Cramer's "Mad Money" show on CNBC after Tuesday's announcement. "Now we're adding all 15 games tonight.
"When we streamed our first game in 2002, people were asking whether live streaming would ever work on the Web. Now look. People want it live."
Cramer, an MLB.TV subscriber himself, called the latest baseball tech breakthrough a "tsunami" and the "single best example of the Mobile Internet." He predicted that a new generation of kids glued to their mobile devices "will watch this."
Cramer asked Bowman what he considered the biggest tech breakthrough of his time, and Bowman replied: "Wireless is. It's now the explosive technology of a generation that wants it this way. At MLB.com, 30 percent of our visits are now from wireless. Two years ago, it was eight percent. Two years from now, we'll have more wireless page views than wired. It won't even be close. Hot spots are going everywhere, everyone has wireless in their homes -- it's just more convenient.
"There's a need for people like us who create broadband and put it out there to help everybody."
Cramer added: "Until you see these applications, you don't understand how this thing is going to take over the world. It's the definition of why I value the Mobile Internet as the biggest investable trend I've ever seen."
MLB.com At Bat for the 2009 MLB season, including the entire postseason, is available now for a one-time fee of $9.99 from Apple's iTunes App Store on iPhone and iPod touch. It remains the top-selling sports application and also ranks among the top 100 overall paid applications.
Subscriptions are under way for MLB.TV Premium and MLB.TV. The recently lowered price for MLB.TV Premium is $69.95 yearly and $19.95 monthly. MLB.TV is $49.95 yearly and $14.95 monthly. Give it as a gift for a birthday present or as a corporate incentive, and then the recipient needs only to have the At-Bat 2009 app from iTunes.
The value of having this everywhere-access to all live out-of-market games only increases as the importance of scoreboard-watching grows around the Majors.
Lisa Moyer is a 27-year-old Phillies fan transplanted in Napa Valley, Calif., and she said her life is about to change for the better.
"Having the ability to watch every out-of-market game live through MLB.com At Bat 2009 will literally change my life," Moyer said in an email to MLB.com. "As a lifelong Phillies fan living in the Bay Area, this will mean that I will no longer be under house-arrest during baseball season -- watching games on my computer using MLB.TV and forced to listen to game highlights from friends and family on the East Coast. Instead, I'll be able to catch all the action, as it happens, for myself. Watching the baseball games I want while I'm working out or running errands -- yes, please! What's better than having baseball wherever you are?"
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.