Major League Baseball (MLB) is continuing its push into Web3 with the launch of a virtual ballpark on July 8th. The ballpark will debut for the All-Star Celebrity Softball Game, during which users can watch the game and celebrity interviews in a virtual environment. The metaverse world will feature many of the effects of an actual ball game, including crowd noise.
To create the virtual ballpark, MLB has partnered with Improbable, a metaverse creation company, that has built digital worlds for over a decade. The ballpark will use Improbable’s Morpheus M2 technology, allowing for thousands of baseball fans to watch the game with no lag. MLB’s motion capture lab will portray the movements of the players as they are.
Introducing MLB’s Virtual Ballpark!
Be part of the interactive MLB All-Star #CelebSoftball Game Presented By Corona Watch Party on July 8. Secure a spot to explore this immersive ballpark & compete in challenges for a chance to win World Series tickets! https://t.co/YzAtjDGNn6 pic.twitter.com/ja29RledPl
— MLB (@MLB) July 5, 2023
MLB is making a special effort to appeal to the everyday user who may not be familiar with Web3 technology. Participants will be able to take part in a digital trading card scavenger hunt, courtesy of Sorare, and Candy Digital, MLB’s official Web3 partner, will provide digital tickets for those who want to remember the event.
In addition, baseball fans who attend will have:
- Natural voice chat
- Baseball-themed entertainment
- One-click entry from any device through cloud-streaming
- Interoperability with other metaverses within M2
All told, MLB’s virtual ballpark will be able to handle 20,000 participants the first time around. In the future, the sports league wants to use its metaverse for other events, new features, and integrations with different platforms. Finally, attendees will have the opportunity to win a pair of tickets to the 2023 World Series.
MLB Bullish on Web3
While many industries have taken steps into Web3 over the past two years, few have done so with as much enthusiasm as the sports industry. And MLB is no exception to that push. Here are our top stories involving that league and Web3 from the past 12 months.
First, in April of 2022, MLB announced that it was dropping an Ethereum-based NFT collection on Candy Digital, its marketplace of choice. The collection, called ICON Leadoffs, featured different rarity levels, with each pack containing five NFTs. To create a more immersive experience, the NFTs came with video clips and a multimedia showcase.
Next, about a year ago, MLB partnered with Sorare to create an MLB NFT trading card game. As the announcement at that time shared, the NFTs would link to in-real-life players, and if that player did well in a game, the holder of that NFT would have a better chance of winning the fantasy tournament.
Lastly, 12 months ago, MLB partnered with Topps to launch an NFT collection in time for the 2022 All Star Week. In addition to the NFT collection, Topps debuted other MLB Web3 initiatives, including giveaways and collection challenges. Like other MLB NFT sets, the one launched with Topps contained different rarities.
As today’s news and all the above stories show, MLB is bullish on Web3. Rarity Sniper has reached out to Improbable for comment and will update the article when it responds.
Founder of Improbable Speaks with Rarity Sniper
To get the scoop on the partnership between MLB and Improbable, Rarity Sniper reached out to the Improbable team via email to ask a couple of questions about the project.
Herman Narula, Founder and CEO of Improbable, said that partnering with MLB has been an incredibly meaningful endeavor, and that the sports league’s approach to enhancing fan engagement and vision for its community aligns well with Improbable’s own goals.
“Sports is at the forefront of developing the most compelling use cases for virtual worlds and the metaverse,” he added. “Recognizing that a remarkable sports experience thrives on the collective energy of a crowd, our technology empowers thousands of individuals to unite within a single virtual world, recreating the electrifying atmosphere of a stadium.”
Narula told Rarity Sniper the Improbable team made the MLB virtual ballpark easily accessible to everyone, regardless of Web3 experience. In his view, user-friendly platforms are essential for leagues and brands to connect with their communities without requiring extensive knowledge of crypto and Web3.
“Moreover, the M2 network offers dedicated tools for content creators and web3 developers, enabling them to craft virtual and interoperable objects using our Metaverse Mark-Up Language,” Narula said. “This aims at fostering a rich and exciting environment within the M2 network, while also enabling business and value creation with cross-world economy opportunities.”