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Batter Up! MLB Ticketing Via Passbook Grows This Season




MLB At Bat App on iPhonePeople love to put baseball out to pasture with quaint old activities of yesteryear like rocking the summer night away on the front porch with family and regularly sitting at the same table for dinner.

Of course, those folks aren’t paying attention since baseball is likely the leading major sport when it comes to its digital presence. As a purchaser of the MLB.TV Premium service just yesterday I can now experience first hand what it means to get baseball on every device at any time for not a lot of money. It’s pretty cool (although bandwidth issues are a concern, are you listening MLB?).

Another way that baseball is proving its digital chops is the expanded use of Apple’s Passbook for ticketing. GigaOm reports

For the 2013 baseball season, Major League Baseball is more than tripling the number of stadiums that will accept mobile tickets via Apple’s Passbook app. This year there will be 13 stadiums that will enable paperless ticketing via Passbook, MLB announced at a fan event in New York City Tuesday night. That’s up from four last season.

The teams that will start accepting Passbook tickets for the first time are the Minnesota Twins, Baltimore Orioles, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland A’s, Pittsburgh Pirates, Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs. The New York Mets, San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals, which began accepting Passbook last September, will again offer the service this season. MLB says there are three more teams that will enable iOS tickets this season, but that are not yet ready to make an official announcement.

As with any mobile service there is the ever present conversation about Apple v Android. In the case of Major League Baseball, iOS devices are king with Android gaining but when it comes to those who spend the money with baseball, it’s Apple users by a large margin.

Right now, [Bob Bowman Major League Baseball’s Advanced Media Office CEO] said, iOS users account for 70 percent of the free version of At Bat. But that’s “shrinking every day” as Android has grown — he says thanks to Samsung’s good mobile hardware and its growing cool factor, as well as the Google Play store being better curated by Google.

However, when it comes to users that pay for At Bat — which is $20 per season — 85 percent are still iOS. But that’s changing too, he said. “Slowly.”

We have discussed the Apple v Android concern as much as the next guy but this is certainly evidence as to the audience that uses Apple products is more affluent. It’s not conclusive by any means (I am the rare Android user that will pay for things but PLEASE don’t read into it that I am affluent, you would be sorely mistaken) but it says something that marketers must play close attention to especially if their service is pointed toward those who will spend money for mobile capabilities.

Are you a baseball fan? Have you had experience with their online efforts? What are your impressions? As a marketer, baseball fan or not, do you see Apple users as more likely to buy online services?