Apple strikes back in sporting battle with Microsoft with major MLB deal

© Ralph Freso
The war between Microsoft and Apple to claim a majority of the sporting market wages on, with the latter winning some ground by striking up a deal with Major League Baseball.

This multi-year deal will put an iPad into the hands of coaches and managers, allowing them details on the latest analytics and statistics from the game taking place from the dugout.

The tablets will be protected by a rugged outer casing and have a MLB Dugout custom app to access the relevant information.

The app is also expected to allow decision-makers to view videos of the action and analyze previous meetings between pitchers and batters.

With technology playing an increased role in the way sport is viewed and assessed, the deal looks set to be groundbreaking for baseball.

"I started in this game 25 years ago and the single biggest change has been the emergence and predominance of analytics," MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said.

"It affects the way we judge players, make decisions on the field and the way fans consume the game.”

The use of smartphones and laptops had previously been banned in MLB dugouts. The financial value of the deal has not been disclosed.

Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said the use of iPads will be a quicker way to get the information he needs.

"It’s all proprietary information with your scouting reports - this is not anything you go on the internet and [find],” he said.

“This is basically the information you have anyway; mostly it’s in books, now it’s going to be transferable to iPads. We’re streamlining things a little bit."

The use of Apple products at baseball ties in with the iBeacon initiative, which interacts with fans that own iPhones while attending fixtures.

Using geofencing technology, the stadium-goers can use the technology to find their seats or access team information and allows Apple to send location-specific alerts to fans offering discounts and deals.

Apple’s dominance over baseball is offset by the ongoing collaboration of Microsoft and the National Football League.

This has seen American Football coaches and players on the sidelines use Surface tablets to analyze the game in progress.

Surface is the official tablet of the NFL and the $400 million sponsorship of the popular sport has given Microsoft some clout in the battle ahead Apple. However, the introduction of the Surface tablet led to unexpected publicity for Apple when NFL announcers repeatedly referred to the tablets as iPad-like devices.

Microsoft’s gaming console Xbox also has the exclusive technology for fans to stream games and interact with other supporters in real time.

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