NEW YORK -- At the sixth annual Sports Business Awards on Wednesday, the night White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf was presented with the 2013 SBJ/SBD Lifetime Achievement Award, Major League Baseball Advanced Media was honored with Best in Sports Technology, recognition for its experiential MLB.com At the Ballpark app that makes it even more fun to go to a game.
The official MLB ballpark app perfectly complements and personalizes the trip with mobile check-in, social media, offers, rewards and exclusive content, including always-updated and downloadable player entrance music. Select ballparks also offer mobile food ordering and seat and experience upgrade components, so the app is customizable to each of the 30 Major League clubs and is increasingly a win-win for clubs and fans.
MLBAM had been nominated in the category along with Pointstreak 5050, NeuLion and Yinzcam, creators of technologies used by sports teams. The awards were presented by the Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily, recognizing excellence and outstanding achievement in the business of sports from March 2012 through February 2013.
"First, I would like to thank Commissioner Bud Selig," MLBAM chief technology officer Joe Inzerillo said in accepting the award at the Marriott Marquis. "Really, without his vision, MLB Advanced Media could not have existed in the first place. I would also like to thank Bob Bowman, our CEO. Without Bob's leadership and hand on the till, great products like At the Ballpark wouldn't exist.
"I think that a lot of times people talk about second screen -- tablets, phones, etcetera. This is really what At the Ballpark is all about. We have the best first screen in the entire world. Whatever happens on the field, on the ice, on the court, that's really the first screen. We have something unique in this industry that we should celebrate."
Reinsdorf has run the White Sox since 1981 and the NBA's Chicago Bulls since '85. There are seven championships in that run, and the owner's influence within MLB has been significant over that time -- including his leadership in the owners' 2000 unanimous vote to create MLBAM as interactive media and Internet company of MLB.
"I think especially today, it's a special note to recognize Jerry Reinsdorf, our first [MLBAM] board member," Inzerillo added in his acceptance. "Really one of the grandfathers of Major League Baseball Advanced Media. So, Jerry, thank you very much."
At the Ballpark is one of three staples in the MLBAM suite of apps available at MLB.com/mobile.
On the same day of the awards presentation, it was announced that MLB.com At Bat 13 already had surpassed six million downloads this season. Last year, At Bat reached that mark on Oct. 4, before finishing with a record-setting 6.7 million downloads. In addition, Beat the Streak Presented by Dunkin' Donuts lets fans go after a $5.6 million prize if they can be the first to correctly predict a hit by a player 57 consecutive times.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. MLB.com columnist Richard Justice contributed to this story.