Analytics have been a major focus for MLB teams over the past decade. Now teams will be able to bring the data that they have accumulated into their dugouts more easily. Major League Baseball and Apple have signed a multi-year agreement that will allow iPads into MLB dugouts during games. The agreement was announced by both MLB and Apple in a press release on Wednesday. Teams will be outfitted with iPad Pros under the terms of the agreement. It will be up to the teams themselves whether they use the iPads during the games or not.
Most teams have used binders of data in dugouts for years to chart pitching match-ups and defensive alignments. The iPads will allow teams to have access to that information digitally. It will also allow players and coaches to look at pre-recorded film in the dugouts, rather than having to go down into the clubhouse to access that information. MLB touted the agreement as "the first-ever on-field integration of next generation technology, putting advance scouting video and customizable reports at the fingertips of all managers, coaches and players."
"Our collaboration with Apple on the use of iPad Pro in dugouts and bullpens is part of our ongoing effort to introduce extraordinary technology into our game," Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred stated in an MLB press release. "We are pleased that Apple's groundbreaking products, which have already improved the access that fans have to our sport, will now inform the decisions that make our games interesting and exciting throughout the year."
The iPads will not be connected to the Internet, so teams will only have access to information downloaded on the tablets before the games begin. Before games, teams will pre-load the data they need for that game from a private network infrastructure installed clubhouses at every ballpark.
Financial terms for the deal were not disclosed. The NFL has a similar agreement with Microsoft that outfits teams with Microsoft Surface tablets on the sidelines of NFL games.