The 11 most important tech storylines from the 2016 MLB season.
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In recent weeks, we have also looked at the top technology storylines across the NFL, NBA and NHL as well. With one MLB game remaining, here is SportTechie’s review of some of the top technology storylines from the past season.
1) MLB and Snapchat kicked things off in spring training by allowing players to post on the social platform before and during games, a first for the league. MLB curated specific Snaps from all 30 teams to the league’s official Snapchat account.
2) Similar to the NFL’s deal with Microsoft, MLB struck a deal with Apple before the season to place iPad Pros in dugouts throughout the year. Each iPad was customized to each ball club and loaded with the MLB Dugout app designed for scouting, video and analytics.
3) MLB green-lighted the use of two wearable devices for use during games this season. A chest strap called the Zephyr Bioharness captured the physiological data of a player while the motusBASEBALL sensor helped teams quantitatively measure arm exertion and stress. Could it be a sign of things to come for all U.S. professional leagues?
4) A few teams, such as the Tampa Bay Rays, started incorporating virtual reality into its training as it partnered with EON Sports VR. Earlier this season, the San Francisco Giants also leveraged the new technology to further engage fans at AT&T Park.
5) Blast Motion, a leader in sensor-based motion capture and swing analysis technology, announced a multi-year partnership this season to become the Official Bat Sensor Technology of Major League Baseball. The Houston Astros was the first MLB team to work with the Carlsbad, Calif.-based company.
6) NextVR brought virtual reality to the Home Run Derby in mid-July.
7) With a continued push toward live streaming in sports, Twitter struck deals with MLB to stream out-of-market games.
8) The Tommy John “epidemic” narrative isn’t slowing down in 2016, but some organizations like the American Sports Medicine Institute are trying to curb the rising tide of injuries to pitchers across the league.
9) Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer suffered the first drone-related injury in MLB history...at least we think. As a result, the self-proclaimed science enthusiast was recently trolled by a Cubs fan during the World Series, receiving a Cheerson Mini Quadcopter delivered to Progressive Field. If you want to check out some of Bauer’s drones in flight, here you go.
10) During the team’s 2016 run, the Chicago Cubs have leveraged big data and motion capture technology to secure one of the lowest ERAs in MLB. Through its relationship with KinaTrax, the Cubs have unlocked innovative ways of analyzing pitching performance.
11) As part of a larger partnership between FOX Sports Digital and Sports Illustrated, the two media entities have been co-producing a pregame World Series show on Facebook Live. It is the first joint video series since the sales and content partnership announcement earlier this Fall.