MLB Turns to Ethereum to Expand Fanbase
Professional baseball organization Major League Baseball (MLB), which has already gained traction among baseball fans across the globe, is banking on the blockchain technology to expand its fanbase.
MLB unveiled its partnership with Lucid Sight, a Los Angeles-based blockchain startup leaning towards blockchain games, to roll out a mobile application driven by ethereum enabling baseball fans to discuss their favorite moment during games.
Users of the app called MLB Crypto Baseball can purchase digital avatars connected to certain significant events in MLB games. This will work similarly to CryptoKitties, the most popular blockchain game, which allows users to buy and trade virtual kittens and pay for those using ether, according to Kenny Gersh, MLB executive vice president of gaming and new business ventures.
Purchase should be made and have it transferred to MetaMesk. Users can earn rewards and stickers for transactions.
Both MLB and Lucid Sight did not divulge additional information about their partnership such as the types of virtual items to be included and kinds of in-game events which can be applied in the mobile app.
“That is 100 [percent] one of the strategic goals of this initiative. Collecting items related to your team, engaging with your team in a new way. For me, say the Red Sox win the division in a couple months, I want to buy something that symbolizes that. These will be event-based things—those moments in sports that happen that you want to remember and cherish, and have a sense that you were there, even if only digitally,” Gersh said.
Attendance at MLB games has declined at an alarming low this season and the organization hopes it could attract more people to watch their games.
“We were already talking to Lucid Sight around the time that CryptoKitties first came out… and then CryptoKitties sort of validated it a little bit more. At the end of the day we decided that isn’t our business, we’re not in the speculation business. We’re in the business of delivering baseball to fans. So this game is a more interesting intersection of blockchain technology and what we do,” Gersh said.
In an interview with Yahoo Finance, Octavio Herrera, co-founder of Lucid Sight, said they are hoping more people, not only the tech savvy ones, will avail of their services.
“We are not building this just for tech savvy people. That said, the game will roll out in stages. So yes, for version one you will need ether, you will need MetaMask, it will be a little bit difficult to get into. But I do think people will open up Coinbase accounts, buy some ether, and transfer it to MetaMask, in order to collect these things they’ll enjoy so much,” Herrera said.
Lucid Sight, which has 22 employees as of date, has worked on console games including Justice League VR for Oculus Rift. At present, its blockchain game Crypto Space Commander, launched in April this year, has 5,000 players.
This is not the first an entity has attempted to cash in on the blockchain technology or cryptocurrency to earn more or expand its presence. In June, Sacramento Kings, a team in the National Basketball Association (NBA), announced it would mine ethers to sustain its charity program.
“We know blockchain is going to revolutionize the world. So, how can we be ahead of the curve and start to utilize blockchain in different parts of the business? Vivek said, ‘What can we do with cryptocurrency to give back to the community?’ It was obvious to us: Let’s start mining cryptocurrency. Let’s mine cryptocurrency and give the proceeds back to groups that could use a little extra help. And we are superfans of Ethereum,” Ryan Montoya, Kings’ chief technology officer, said at that time.
Introduced in 2015, Ethereum is an open-source, public, blockchain-based distributed computing platform and operating system with smart contract functionality.