MLB (Major League Baseball) and MLBAM (Major League Baseball Advanced Media) have struck a deal with Apple to power all 30 team’s dugout with 12.9″ iPad Pro tablets, wrapped in custom rugged cases with the team’s logo.
In addition to the devices like NFL’s deal with Microsoft Surface, MLBAM will power custom apps such as MLB Dugout for each team to sift through its proprietary data and analytics. The data would not be shared across the league, but maintained within each team.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred told WSJ: “I started in this game 25 years ago and the single biggest change has been the emergence and predominance of analytics…it affects the way we judge players, make decisions on the field and the way fans consume the game.”
Previously, smartphones, laptops and tablets had been banned from dugouts. The use of iPad’s from Apple will be optional for each team (it’s mandatory for NFL teams to replace the playbook).
“We’re not just replacing binders with tablets, we’re actually helping them do things that weren’t possible before” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s SVP of Marketing.
Apple and MLB have had a special relationship since the introduction of the iPhone when MLB’s apps were among the first to be showcased by Steve Jobs.