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Baseball fans will now be able to experience what it's like to compete in a Home Run Derby. At this year's Derby, part of the All-Star Game festivities in San Diego, T-Mobile is using virtual reality to put fans in the batter’s box. “We’re taking the Derby out of the ballpark and letting fans step up to the pate with 2015 Champion Todd Frazier in a first-of-its-kind VR experience for the Home Run Derby,” T-Mobile president and CEO John Legere said in a statement.
The VR experience will allow fans to step into the shoes of players like Todd Frazier, last year’s Home Run Derby winner, and see what it's like to belt home runs in one of the year's most anticipated events. Fans can share their scores on social media and compete with their friends. The experience will be available at the Fan Fest in San Diego during All-Star week, as well as at T-Mobile stores across the country.
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Fans will also have more access then ever to the Derby through the player Social Lounge, which will feature behind-the-scenes looks, player commentary and more via MLB’s social media accounts.
The use of virtual reality and social media may spark a larger movement of increased fan access to games and special events. VR access is planned for the Rio Olympics, and the UEFA Champions League final featured a unique VR experience as well.
The Home Run Derby is scheduled for July 11 at Petco Park, and viewers at home can watch on ESPN. The All-Star game will be played on July 12.