Friday September 23rd, 2016

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MLB Advanced Media and New Relic Inc. recently announced a partnership to host a hackathon competition called the Bases Coded Technology Challenge. The hackathon will take place during the MLB playoffs, and they are currently accepting team applications for the chance to design a new consumer-facing baseball-themed app.

MLBAM, MLB’s digital media branch, began running their hackathon competition in 2013. This year’s co-host, New Relic, is a software analytics giant and hopes to make the 2016 event better than ever.

Bases Coded is currently open to any U.S. resident, 18 and older. The application process ends October 7th.

Small teams, comprised of two to three individuals, will compete to design the best new app for MLB fans. Five finalist will be chosen to attend the 24-hour hackathon event, which will begin before Game 4 of the World Series. The finalists will be given access to MLBAM’s private APIs and data. They will then design, build and present their new and functioning baseball-themed consumer app.

Both New Relic and MLBAM will have extremely knowledgeable staff members on site in order to assist contestants. The teams will build their applications on an Amazon Web Services instance and they will utilize New Relic’s products to measure their app’s performance, based on simulated usage.

Baseball and its most famous professional league have always been obsessed with stats. Now MLB is working with New Relic to make sure their apps and online tools perform to their optimal levels. New Relic provides clients with real-time information and insights about their digital efficiency, including app performance. MLBAM is one of New Relic’s more high-profile clients, which also include TIME, Office Depot, Bleacher Report and many more.

Hackathons have become hugely popular over the last few years. We recently covered sports related hackathons sponsored by some very well known teams and universities, including Manchester City FC and the University of Oregon. But it was the University of Pennsylvania that hosted the first ever university hosted hackathon in 2009. According to the New York Times, there were 150 intercollegiate hackathons in 2015.

With so much coverage revolving around these events with such nefarious sounding names, let’s clear something up. Hackathons do not involve hacking, or harming people through cyber crime. It simply became the term used for a brief – typically between 24 to 48 hours – coding challenge. Teams, or individuals usually try to create an app or a website within the predetermined amount of time. Typically with a broad outline for what they are supposed to create, often utilizing proprietary information. The winners are then chosen by a panel of expert judges.

The five Bases Coded finalists will have all of their travel arrangements paid for. After the competition they will present their new consumer-focused baseball apps to a panel of industry experts. The grand prize winning team receives tickets to Game 4 of this year’s World Series, after they are honored on the field prior to the game. They will also win other MLB-themed prizes.

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