Despite recent attempts to establish a metaverse crashing and burning harder than your NFT collection, Major League Baseball is gonna give it a go with a virtual ballpark.
MLB announced Wednesday that it’s launching a “new virtual ballpark to bring fans immersive digital experiences.”
According to MLB.com’s David Adler, the virtual ballpark will make its live debut on Saturday for an online watch part for the MLB All-Star Celebrity Softball Game.
The virtual ballpark will be an online space where baseball fans from all over the world can connect and experience live events. It’s designed like a real baseball stadium in an effort to bring the actual MLB ballpark experience to the virtual world.
Fans will be able to create an avatar, customizable with their favorite MLB team’s jersey, to enter the virtual ballpark, participate in the live-event experience, explore the ballpark and interact with the other users around them.
“We’re creating this digital, virtual stadium where MLB fans across the globe have the ability to experience an event together,” MLB executive vice president of media and business development Kenny Gersh told MLB.com. “What’s really cool about this technology is, this is really bringing people together, and it feels like you’re there. It’s really a unique way of simulating that in-ballpark experience to a global audience that really hasn’t been possible before.”
Introducing MLB’s Virtual Ballpark!
Be part of the interactive MLB All-Star #CelebSoftball Game Presented By Corona Watch Party on July 8. Secure a spot to explore this immersive ballpark & compete in challenges for a chance to win World Series tickets! https://t.co/YzAtjDGNn6 pic.twitter.com/ja29RledPl
— MLB (@MLB) July 5, 2023
Fans who participate will be able to watch a live stream of the softball game on the virtual ballpark’s video board and get access to exclusive celebrity interviews. Participants will also get the chance to play mini-games tied to what’s happening live at T-Mobile Park in Seattle and receive “a commemorative digital ticket created by Candy Digital.”
“My hope is that in 20 years, people look back and say, ‘Oh, remember when MLB did that Celebrity Softball Game in this environment? Now look where we are, where it feels like we’re sitting in Yankee Stadium. And hey, I was there. Here’s my ticket,'” Gersh told MLB.com. “I think that’s sort of cool.”
MLB says that it hopes this will be the first of several virtual ballpark experiences with “more events, new features, and potentially integration with more platforms” planned.
On one hand, it sounds like a unique way to watch sports that might entice younger fans and tech enthusiasts who wouldn’t have otherwise engaged with All-Star Weekend.
On the other hand, we can’t help but think about the recent report that said the world’s biggest metaverse platform, Horizon Worlds from Meta, averaged 38 daily users and made $470 in total revenue.
Learn more about MLB’s virtual ballpark page.