UPDATE: MLB.com informs that users looking to purchase At Bat at the Android Store should get the "Lite" free version, which is then upgradeable for those that are looking to use the app with an MLB.TV Premium subscription.
As mobile technology goes, baseball fans have been fortunate to drink for the cutting edge for years now with MLB.comâ€™s At Bat application. Today, baseballâ€™s digital-rights arm releases this seasonâ€™s offering in time for Spring Training with iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad) rolling out first and Android (both phones and tablets) coming later on Weds., as well.
In years past, there has been huge functionality offerings, the most prevalent of those was streaming video a few seasons back, and increased graphic capability for Gameday and social networking adds last season.
This season is about streamlining the app and payment options. While not as sexy, it makes getting new customers on-board easier.
As we reported prior, At Bat 2012 will be free for MLB.TV Premium subscribers this year. Along with that, the app itself is â€śuniversalâ€ť this year â€“ a single app purchase is optimized for iPhone and iPad meaning no need to purchase separately for the given platform.
But, maybe the best thing for fans is the ability to have multiple options for billing this year. In prior years, it was pretty much buy for the entire regular season, no matter when you considered the purchase. Now, if you are going to purchase At Bat without the MLB.TV Premium sub, you can do the one-time annual $14.99 payment (which, good news fans, is the same as last year), or you can go $2.99 a month for iPhone and iPad through Appleâ€™s iTunes Store, something thatâ€™s never been done by Apple for a sports app.
- As for the release today, itâ€™s for Spring Training. MLB.com will have an additional upgrade release for the regular season that is said to have additional features, offers and functionalities.
- MLB.com informs that this year youâ€™ll get to watch approx. 150 available Spring Training games with a sub to MLB.TV Premium (iPhone, iPad, select Android phones and tablets).
- Youâ€™ll also get to customize your home screen to designate your favorite team (iPhone and Android phones, only)
- Listen to available Spring Training games broadcast via radio
- An enhanced video library archive, searchable by player or team (iPhone, Android phones, only)
- And, the continued functionality of breaking news, schedules, interactive rosters.
There are few apps out there that are truly, a â€śmust haveâ€ť for sports fans, but At Bat each year is one of them. If youâ€™ve never purchased, remember to check very closely what the blackout restrictions are in your area. At the very least, itâ€™s important to note that when FOX is doing their Saturday game, and ESPN is doing likewise on Sunday, during those windows, At Bat is going to be a black hole for watching games streamed. Radio, and updates are available, but watching games is going to relegated to your television. Youâ€™ll also get hit with regional blackouts, depending on your location. At Bat is a fantastic addition to your mobile app. Just remember, let the buyer beware when it comes to thinking youâ€™ll be watching any and all games that are being played out of market at a given time.
Download At Bat for iPhone/iPad
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. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog..Â He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).
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