News: MLB Now Lets Fans Experience Home Run Derby in Augmented Reality via New App

MLB Now Lets Fans Experience Home Run Derby in Augmented Reality via New App

The 2021 season of Major League Baseball (MLB) is in full swing, and now that vaccines are widespread in the US, major baseball stadiums are allowing fans back in at full capacity.

But for those either without the time to attend or still comfortable observing developments from afar, there's a new augmented reality option that lets fans immerse themselves in the season.

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The official MLB AR app was released this week for both Apple iOS iPhones and iPads as well as Android devices.

Upon opening the app the allows you to select the 2019 Home Run Derby experience, which prompts you to scan your area in search of a flat surface to place the AR construct.

Once placed, you're treated to a full virtual replay (complete with detailed stats courtesy of Google Cloud's Statcast) of the MLB event as it unfolded. The start menu also promises AR versions of the 2018 and 2017 competitions "coming soon," and also presents a countdown clock to this year's event.

MLB, along with its partner T-Mobile, timed the launch to come just days before the start of the T-Mobile Home Run Derby, which is scheduled to take place on Monday, July 12 at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. The last time the event occurred was back in 2019, as the 2020 event was canceled due to the complications around the global pandemic.

Images by Adario Strange/Next Reality

This year's three-round, single-elimination event, which comes one day before the MLB All Star Game, will feature the likes of Shohei Ohtani (Los Angeles Angels), Juan Soto (Washington Nationals), Joey Gallo (Texas Rangers), and 2019 winner Pete Alonso (New York Mets).

If you're a dedicated baseball nerd, this free AR app is a must-try as it brings the game into your home in a way that transcends normal televised broadcasts. And if you're just a casual watcher, it's still a great peek into how immersive technology becoming an increasingly mainstream way to bring live events to life even when you can't attend in-person.

Cover image via Adario Strange/Next Reality

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