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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

FIS, minor leagues to enhance ballpark experience

St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Minor League Baseball (MiLB) recently endorsed FIS as the "Business-Driving Solutions Provider of Minor League Baseball." On March 27, 2017, MiLB disclosed it will collaborate with FIS, a global technology provider based in Jacksonville, Fla., to create a futuristic ballpark experience for fans, employees and baseball aficionados. The first phase of the planned transformation will target three strategic areas: operations, payment processing and loyalty and rewards, representatives stated.

Established in 1901 as the governing body for professional baseball teams affiliated with Major League Baseball farm systems, MiLB prides itself on providing affordable, family-friendly entertainment in the United States, Canada and the Dominican Republic. MiLB managers expressed enthusiasm for implementing FIS real-time solutions and advanced data analytics. In addition to simplifying payment transactions, the solutions will help to streamline tracking and managing employee expenses, team travel and purchasing functions, while improving internal operations and customer experience, they said, adding that FIS will market these enhancements to 160 U.S. and Canadian MiLB clubs.

David Wright, Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer at MiLB, said aligned interests and capabilities will help the new collaborators create the ballpark of the future. "Teaming with FIS makes sense on so many levels and plays to the strengths of both organizations," he said. "Our robust ownership, tech-savvy fan base and overall scale position FIS and its industry-leading payment and loyalty services as the ideal partner for Minor League Baseball."

Bruce Lowthers, President of the Global Retail Payments Division at FIS, called minor league baseball "America's pastime." He believes that improving the ballpark experience will attract more attendees and encourage them to return. "From payroll to payments and data management to loyalty, FIS looks forward to supporting MiLB to create the 'ballpark of the future,'" he said.

Take me out to the omnichannel

In 2016, 41.3 million fans visited MiLB ballparks to observe future major league baseball stars. Millions of remote fans are also able to live-stream content and revisit favorite teams and events on the MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) website. As ballparks evolve in response to changing consumer behavior and increasingly connected fans, MLBAM distributes a range of interactive content to millions of fans around the world via the web, mobile applications and connected devices.

MLBAM's subscription platform supports a variety of digital products, including live and on-demand media, fantasy games, game-cast applications and fan club portals. The company noted that it designed "At Bat," a popular sports app, and distributes an average of 10 million streams a day. "With massive capacity and bandwidth to support millions of multi-platform subscribers and processes to assure efficient time investment, we leverage proprietary internal technologies with best-in-class vendor relationships to deliver impactful, digital solutions," the MLBAM website states.

A rewarding experience

MLBAM representatives pointed out that its mobile capabilities support text messaging on smartphones and tablets, digital ticketing services and ancillary advertising platforms. Its digital solutions can be integrated into other apps and ecommerce applications. "MLBAM's statistical engine drives wired and mobile products across all platforms, providing an up-to-the-moment viewing experience, pitch-by-pitch trajectories, home, away and Spanish-language radio broadcasts, in-game highlights, box scores and player stats," the company stated.

FIS and MiLB intend to work with MLBAM to create a new MiLB Fan Loyalty program, designed to reward fans and boost attendance. Leveraging MLBAM's digital platform will help to improve the digital, interactive experience at minor league ballparks by providing a range of family-friendly digital content, the companies stated. The partners plan to unveil the technology-driven "Ballparks of the Future" at Bragan Field at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, Fla., at a yet-to-be-announced date in the near future. end of article

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