Zoom strikes unified communications home run in MLB partnership

Conferencing and communications company claims first-of-its-kind partnership with major US sports league to enhance MLB games and the fan viewership experience based on contact centre and core platform

In a demonstration of how it has evolved from being a supplier of video conferencing solutions, Zoom Video Communications has announced what it calls a first-of-its-kind partnership with Major League Baseball (MLB) to enhance games and the fan viewership experience.

Major League Baseball regards itself as the most historic professional sports league in the US and consists of 30 member clubs in the US and Canada, representing the highest level of professional baseball. The league remains committed to making an impact in communities across the US, Canada and throughout the world, “perpetuating the sport’s larger role in society and permeating every facet of baseball’s business”. This includes marketing, community relations and social responsibility endeavours.

MLB also boasts what it calls a record level of competitive balance, claiming it will continue to expand its global reach through programming and content to fans all over the world, and registered records in games and minutes watched in the current season on its MLB.TV channel.

Given what it regards as the success of MLB Network and MLB digital platforms, MLB said it was looking to find “innovative” ways for its fans to enjoy America’s national pastime and a truly global game. 

As part of this mission, Zoom will become the new official unified communications platform of MLB, with the Zoom Contact Center and core Zoom platform technology powering new elements of Major League games and broadcasts. MLB’s corporate offices use Zoom Meetings, Zoom Rooms, Zoom Phone and Zoom Webinar to connect, collaborate and communicate.

“We are always looking for innovative ways to leverage best-in-class technology to advance the MLB experience and deliver more to our fans. Partnering with Zoom, a category leader that reinvented the way we connect, was a natural next step for us,” said MLB chief operations and strategy officer Chris Marinak. “We are excited to integrate Zoom Contact Center and other Zoom platform technology into our gameday operations and continue to modernise experiences in a secure, reliable and innovative way.”

The integration is seen as driving innovation in a number of ways. Zoom Contact Center will see use in transforming replay reviews, of which there were more than 1,400 in the 2022 MLB season. Historically, the league’s replay review was reliant on disparate technology and audio-only communication with umpires on the field, resulting in fans being disconnected from the decision-making process.

Beginning with the 2023 season, the crew chief, the most senior member of the four-man umpire crew, will connect to the Zoom replay operations centre using Zoom’s Contact Center solution during any replay review.

During US national broadcasts on MLB Network and the Apple TV+ subscription video service, fans will also see the Zoom replay operations centre in action live during replay reviews and hear from an expert rules analyst who will discuss replay reviews with the broadcast team. MLB’s goal with this new setup is to create a more transparent and engaging review process.

The Zoom platform will also see use in helping to streamline communication, securely delivering sensitive information in one of the most high-pressure and high-profile MLB events – day one of the 2023 MLB Draft.

There will also be broader league-wide Zoom integrations to advance collaboration in the league. The all-in-one collaboration platform is integrated across several MLB clubs, platforms and broadcast outlets. In addition to Zoom Meetings, many MLB teams are using Zoom Phone to stay connected with colleagues and customers, as well as Zoom Contact Center to deliver what Zoom says will be prompt, accurate and highly personalised customer experiences to fans.

“MLB brings together tens of millions of passionate fans every season. Zoom’s rapid pace of innovation, and obsession with making human connection easier and better, is crucial to help MLB evolve its experience and deliver unprecedented transparency and access to its fans,” added Zoom chief marketing officer, Janine Pelosi.

“With MLB leveraging Zoom Contact Center and Zoom’s all-in-one collaboration platform, we are able to truly show the world how a historical brand can continue to innovate and unlock new possibilities.” 

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