Today, Tagboard and Major League Baseball (MLB) are entering into a multi-year partnership to bolster fan engagement across its in-stadium, livestream, and digital properties – further enhancing the physical and digital fan experience.
In the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed sports as we know it – with professional sports leagues finding new ways to keep fans engaged with their favorite teams from home. For MLB, updates during the pandemic ranged from allowing fans to purchase cardboard cutouts of themselves to be placed throughout the stadium to doubling down on live streaming and original content produced for YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, the MLB app, among other channels.
MLB is investing in a multi-year partnership with Tagboard to enhance its interactive production capabilities and further engage the next generation of fans. Producers at MLB, MLB Network, and Minor League Baseball will be able to leverage Tagboard’s cloud-based production platform to produce live broadcast, gameday, digital, and event experiences. Tagboard Interactive provides producers with an intuitive graphics system, access to real-time social media content, and a brand new interactive polling suite to craft interactive programming across every connected screen.
Tagboard first began testing Tagboard Interactive as a BETA product in January with partners including Discovery Network and MLB properties such as the Houston Astros for their Virtual Fan Fest. Now, Tagboard Interactive is officially launching with MLB and MiLB clubs across the continent planning to utilize the platform to create unique fan experiences. The product will open up endless opportunities to merge the fan’s digital experience into league venues and broadcasts, from trivia and fan polling to sponsored content and programs across connected screens.
“Our fans are increasingly connected to their digital devices at home, at the ballpark and on the go,” said Barbara McHugh, MLB Senior Vice President, Marketing. “From their ballpark seat, to social platforms, to livestreaming games and beyond, fans are creating their own baseball memories and storytelling moments. MLB continues to invest in efforts that enrich our fans’ digital and physical experiences; Tagboard has developed a strong reputation throughout our industry as a powerful platform and technology solution to help enhance these fan engagements. We look forward to furthering our collaboration as we bring additional interactive, immersive and cross-platform experiences to our fans.”
The multi-year partnership further builds on Tagboard’s work with MLB over the past several years. In the 2020 season, Tagboard enabled the fan experience across MLB’s key media properties, including 16 MLB clubs, FOX Sports MLB, Turner Sports MLB Shows, and MLB Network’s T-Mobile Batting Practice Live Stream.
“It’s wild to think about how far the fan experience has come in the last few decades. One of my earliest memories as a sports fan is sitting in the Kingdome and waving my hands to “Hip Hop Hooray” as Griffey took the plate for the Mariners. Today, I couldn’t be more proud to have Tagboard working hand-in-hand with MLB to evolve the experience that millions of fans interact and engage with. From watching TV at home, to sitting in the ballpark with a bag of peanuts, fans will always have their phone right next to them; we are excited to help MLB create seamless experiences between fan’s digital and physical world, to enhance the game they love.” — Nathan Peterson, President of Tagboard
Tagboard’s history with baseball runs deep, back to 2013 when the Seattle Mariners became the first major sports team to utilize the early stage platform to find and display fan social content on their videoboard. Together over the past eight years, MLB clubs have launched several fan engagement firsts including the first team to bring Snapchat and Instagram Stories to stadium screens.
Fast forward to today, Tagboard has quickly become a platform of choice for over 400 news, sports, and entertainment media companies globally, including dozens of Major and Minor League Baseball teams, as well as MLB partner broadcast networks like FOX Sports and Turner Sports who utilize Tagboard to produce interactive elements, in the cloud, for thousands of baseball fans’ favorite programs.
Moving forward, MLB fans can expect more immersive and interactive cross-channel experiences from each MLB club, broadcast partners, and from the league as a whole. Leveraging Tagboard’s cloud-based production platform, MLB will engage and inform fans at every touchpoint, capitalizing on the digital audience and growing the footprint of the game overall.
Innovative Examples from the 2020 Season
Throughout the 2020 season, Tagboard worked with MLB to enable 16 MLB clubs to create unique experiences to reach fans, including livestream happy hours where fans could engage directly with players, coaches, and talent through social Q&A on a branded livestream. MLB club activations ranged from social hour live streams and pregame shows, to MLB Draft parties, online digital experiences, and live reactions brought into the stadium.
During the 2020 MLB Draft, the Miami Marlins leveraged Tagboard’s cloud-based graphics engine and real-time social content to create a branded L-Bar frame for their interactive livestream draft show. Fans had the opportunity to ask their new first-round pick questions live on air.
Once the season started, clubs found innovative ways to engage fans at home and bring them virtually into the stadium for their players. From the Seattle Mariners On Deck Show featuring fan commentary and a Tagboard countdown clock graphic to the Chicago White Sox bringing fan reactions after big plays to the stadium screen, and the Atlanta Braves giving fans a digital hub to share their photos, each MLB club reimagined the fan experience using Tagboard.
In Fall 2020, FOX Sports digital team produced an interactive World Series Watch Party, produced with Tagboard. The streams drew 7.5 million views across FOX Sports digital and social platforms, up +150% from last year.
Tagboard also has multi-year relationships with some of MLB’s major broadcast partners including FOX Sports and Turner Sports. In 2020 during the ALCS, Turner Sports producers were the first to utilize QR code technology to engage baseball fans with real-time Twitter poll results integrated directly into their linear broadcast, produced with Tagboard.