No longer just "At Bat 2010" for iPad,
MLB.com has sold the presenting rights
to Prudential Insurance.
There’s little denying MLB.com’s “At Bat” app for mobile devices, such as Apple’s iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, is a winner in terms of functionality. It’s an award winner, and has ranked at the top or near it in terms of popularity in the iTunes App Store for months.
When released in July of 2008, At Bat was an instant success. At $4.99 for half the season, it was a steal. For the full season last year, it jumped to $9.99 and saw the addition of streaming video, and this year, it’s up to $14.99.
The cost of iPhone and iPod touch is still well worth the price, but if you purchase an iPad, you’re on the hook for an additional $14.99 as it’s a completely different app for the platform. And remember, to get a full slate of available games (remember, blackout restrictions apply), you’ll need an MLB.TV subscription for $79.95 a year, or $19.95 a month.
The pricing of what we’ve reviewed as “a great app that keeps on giving” is being highlighted as the app, no matter the platform, has delivered the goods without any distractions.
But, now, that’s beginning to change.
Recently, the iPad version of At Bat 2010 began adding in-app advertisement. Beginning with a splash screen that has Prudential Insurance as the presenting sponsor, to placement of hot linked “outfield wall ads”, MLB.com is tapping into monetizing At Bat beyond the cost of the applications and MLB.TV subscription.
Not just something to see, these "outfield wall" ads in the iPad version of
At Bat 2010 are hot linked to a Prudential website
The hot placed ads in Gametracker is either a brilliant bit of advertising, or annoying intrusiveness, depending on your point of view. Touching the Prudential logos on the virtual outfield wall will trigger a prompt asking if you wish to shut down At Bat 2010 for iPad and launch iPad’s Safari browser to the Prudential site.
Tap an ad on the outfield wall, and you'll get prompted to shut down
At Bat 2010, and navigate to a website via iPad's Safari browser
In talking with power users of At Bat 2010 for iPad, what is of concern is the proliferation of this type of in app advertisement placement. Will ads crop up elsewhere in the app?
Some will see this form of advertisement as a small potatoes affair, while others have said that they understand ads in free apps, but one for $14.99 with possibly $79.95, or more a year, attached…? Stop the blatant money grab. Odds are, the in-app advertisement is here to stay, and when Apple’s OS 4.0 is released with iAd, in-app advertisement will be here to stay. Doing ads tastefully, without being a distraction will be the key. MLB.com will have to do a dance on a tightrope to make sure that ads don’t distract from what has been an otherwise fantastic product.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
Follow Maury Brown on Twitter
Follow The Biz of Baseball on Twitter
Follow the Business of Sports Network on Facebook