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MLB to use iOS 7's iBeacons for customized stadium experiences

Michael Grothaus
Michael Grothaus|@michaelgrothaus|September 27, 2013 9:00 AM

Major League Baseball's iOS developer for the MLB app, Marc Abramson, has told Mashable that MLB will be using iOS 7's iBeacons protocol to turn the MLB.com At the Ballpark app into an interactive guide to stadiums. iBeacons are a new Core Location API in iOS 7 that allows any iOS device with a Bluetooth 4.0 chip (BLE) to know where it is in relation to other BLE devices. iBeacons pick up the micro-location of other iBeacon devices, thereby allowing an app on your phone to know where you are on a hyper-local level.

Mashable says MLB has been working closely with Apple on iBeacons integration since February. As Mashable reports:

By loading the free [MLB.com] app when you get off the subway and head towards the stadium, it immediately knows you are at Citi Field. It populates a ballpark guide with information specific to the stadium, so if you were to enter Phillies' Citizens Bank Park, the entire experience and data wouldn't be the same.

As you near the gates, the app displays your ticket's barcode on screen, as well as a map of where the seats are located. If tickets are loaded into Apple Passbook or purchased online through certain ticketing partners, the app will automatically pull them up.

An iBeacons-capable MLB app could also show different users different things. For example, a huge baseball fan might see a short video of the history of the stadium on his screen, while just a casual viewer who has only been to the stadium once or twice might see other information, like notifications telling them what kind of food is served in the stadium.

At this time there's no word on when the MLB app will be updated with iBeacons support, but it is likely to happen sometime in 2014.