Baseball's Opening Day annually brings the rollout of the latest version of MLB.com's popular At Bat application. For the first time, the 2011 installment includes a sponsorship courtesy of Volvo that allows users to watch every out-of-market game free for the first month.
Led by Mobext, the mobile marketing arm of Havas Digital, the partnership between MLB.com and Volvo is part of the car marker's broader strategy of teaming with sports organizations that also include the Big East basketball conference. The focus is building brand awareness among younger, tech-savvy consumers.
The effort also includes the first integration of ads as part of MLB.com's deal to stream games on Apple TV. New features in the 2011 edition of At Bat for the iPhone include the ability to see key plays and pivotal moments from every game, and check-in from ballparks to get interactive venue maps, expanded video highlights and interact on Twitter and Facebook.
The updated iPad At Bat app includes redesigned Gameday pitch-by-pitch features and "realistic" ballpark renderings for all 30 Major League ballparks. On Android devices, the latest version offers an MLB.TV subscription to watch live out-of-market games. MLB charges $14.99 for At Bat 11 across platforms, which also include the BlackBerry, for the 2011 season.
"Utilizing cutting-edge platforms, such as the AppleTV, iPad and iPhone, allows for Volvo to interact with the target audience in meaningful ways and provide tangible value around one of their passion points," stated Jared Hopfer, associate director at Mobext. Baseball fans have already made At Bat 11 the top-gross title in the iTunes App Store, pushing ahead of "Angry Birds Rio."