MLB Debuts Virtual Ballpark Streaming

Tonight, Major League Baseball (MLB) is set to broadcast a regular season game in a virtual environment. The Tampa Bay Rays will face the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field, but fans will have the option to view the game as a real-time animation.

This initiative is powered by Improbable, a metaverse technology company. Their platform will use MLB’s Gameday 3D technology, combined with Sony’s Hawk-Eye camera-tracking system, to translate the live game into a 3D virtual experience. This approach offers a real-time recreation of the match, akin to a video game.

Improbable CEO Herman Narula says he sees potential for new revenue opportunities, suggesting features like microtransactions for exclusive items and specialized fan zones. The virtual platform will also allow fans to choose their viewing angles and interact with others using spatial audio.

MLB previously introduced a virtual ballpark during an online event for the All-Star Celebrity Softball Game in July, though without the real-time game recreation.

I’m not sure that this is the highest, best use of real-time content transformation tools… but it is the right place to start. The output will be recognizable to everyone. The experience will be anchored in the real world, and the event will demonstrate the power to manipulate the viewer’s experience in real time. In practice, this technology is far more powerful than this use case would suggest.

The word “metaverse” may be dead, but the idea of generating data-driven experiences in (or near) real time, at low (or no) cost, is still fresh and new.

Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit



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