MLB Virtual Ballpark to host first regular-season game

September 14th, 2023

Major League Baseball on Thursday announced that its interactive, virtual ballpark will stream its first-ever regular season game on Wednesday, Sept. 20, when the Tampa Bay Rays host the Los Angeles Angels live from Tropicana Field. Syncing with Gameday 3D for this first test, fans from anywhere in the world logged into the virtual ballpark can watch a three-dimensional representation of the game and interact with each other as it’s being played. In addition to watching the game up close from previously impossible angles, fans can talk with each other using spatial audio, explore the virtual ballpark to play trivia games and participate in a scavenger hunt. Fans can also watch the traditional broadcast on the digital videoboards of the virtual ballpark. This experience is available on any internet-connected personal device including computers, tablets and smartphones.

“With the virtual ballpark, we want to continue to give our fans options to experience the game they love in unique ways and test the boundaries of baseball content delivery,” said Kenny Gersh, MLB Executive Vice President, Media & Business Development. “Gameday 3D allows us to experiment even more within the virtual ballpark and should allow our fans to further immerse themselves into the experience of a game. Thanks to the Rays and Angels supporting this initiative, we can watch Major League Baseball in a format unlike any other.”

“The Rays are always looking for new ways to engage with fans through technology,” said Rays Chief Business Officer Bill Walsh. “In collaboration with MLB and the Angels, we’re excited to be able to offer fans this unique and immersive experience at the forefront of innovation in sports technology.”

Gameday 3D transports fans into a fully immersive three-dimensional baseball environment, offering a unique opportunity to experience the action live, from any angle in the ballpark. MLB launched Gameday 3D earlier this season to provide fans with an alternate viewing experience of select games online. The first-of-its-kind immersive animation leverages the industry’s most advanced tracking data and the latest computer vision technology. By utilizing the same Sony Hawk-Eye cameras in each Major League ballpark that provide Statcast data, Gameday 3D incorporates the position and orientation of each player and then generates a 3D re-creation of the game in real-time. Fans will be able to access the virtual ballpark directly on from their device of choice.

The MLB virtual ballpark debuted with a special online watch party for the MLB All-Star Celebrity Softball Game presented by Corona on Saturday, July 8th and was developed in collaboration with Improbable, a London-based technology firm that develops virtual spaces to connect brands with consumers in a new digital landscape. Improbable can enable enhanced social interaction in the virtual spaces it helps develop through its M² network and online ecosystem powered by its own Morpheus technology. Providing a sense of presence inside virtual spaces, users on Improbable’s networks can interact with each other in the same online place at the same time from anywhere in the world in an ultimate lag-free experience.