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MLB, Phillies, Aramark debut in-stadium mobile food ordering

MLB Advanced Media L.P., the Philadelphia Phillies and Aramark are letting fans at Citizens Bank Park use their iPhone to order food and have the items delivered to their seat.

The initiative is the latest addition to At the Ballpark, a mobile concierge program within MLB.com’s At Bat 2010 applications for iPhone that lets fans check-in and manage their own experiences at the ballpark. Working together, MLBAM, the Phillies and Aramark are creating a game-day experience that integrates the convenience of mobile technology, while letting fans make the most of their time watching the game and socializing with friends.

“Fans are more tech savvy than ever, so it’s only natural for us to work together to explore ways to incorporate mobile technology into the food ordering process and develop offerings that allow fans to navigate a ballpark’s food options through their mobile devices,” said Brian Hastings, regional director of operations at Aramark, Philadelphia.

“The Phillies and Aramark have been at the forefront of pioneering new technologies and MLBAM has one of the top-selling apps in the Apple App Store, so it made sense for us to team together on the development of the food ordering app,” he said.

“This feature addresses the fans’ request for making things more accessible and convenient.”

MLB Advanced Media is the interactive media and Internet company of Major League Baseball. MLBAM manages the official league site at http://www.MLB.com and each of the 30 individual club sites.

MLBAM’s Tickets.com powers mobile ticketing for 13 MLB teams (see story).

Aramark is the food and beverage vendor partner for 12 MLB teams.

Mobile food ordering via MLB app
By using the Apple devices’ core location technology, MLB.com At Bat 2010 can verify that a fan is inside the ballpark and, subsequently, grant access to various exclusive features, including the ability to order food.

During the pilot program, fans at Citizens Bank Park can order some of the most popular menu items directly from their seats, including a Philadelphia cheese steak, Tony Luke’s Roasted Pork, Bulls BBQ Turkey Sandwich, Planet Hoagie Italian Hoagie and Eastern Shore Crab Cake Sandwich.

Fans will have the ability to order food from their seats via the At Bat 2010 mobile application by providing their seat location and a valid credit card, which is then processed through Citizens Bank Park’s Micros 9700 point-of-sale platform, powered by Micros Systems Inc.

Ordering food via At Bat 2010 does not require fans to have a pre-authorized account prior to beginning the purchase process.

Other features
In addition to food ordering, At the Ballpark offers an array of exclusive content and social media interaction for fans at Citizens Bank Park.

Among those features are:

 • Check-in: Accessible two hours prior to every scheduled home game, fans can check-in at Citizen Bank Park and deliver personal messages instantly across Twitter and Facebook.

 • My Profile: A detailed look at a user’s individual activity history, showing the number of games attended, ballparks visited, teams seen and teams’ records in those games, among other customizable options.

 • Venue Maps: With a verified check-in, fans can view detailed venue maps and complete concession menus.

The maps and directories utilize the pinch-and-zoom functionality of iPhone for zoom in and out features ability across the entire venue map, allowing fans to quickly identify and navigate locations for concessions, restrooms, first aid stations, ATMs, souvenirs and customer service representatives.

 • Social Media: Fans also can engage in the community of 140-character conversations going on in-and-around Citizens Bank Park with Twitter integration.

In addition to being able to send messages directly from within At Bat 2010, fans can see the Tweets coming from the ballpark, as determined by geolocation technology, from other fans using designated hashtags (#phillies) and from followers’ replies to the original messages.

 • Video Highlights: The in-game video highlight experience within MLB.com At Bat has been enhanced exclusively for fans that have a verified check-in by offering a set of bonus in-game highlights exclusively for that individual game.

MLB.com At Bat, including the entire 2010 postseason, is available from Apple’s App Store.

In addition to automated messages that alerted current At Bat 2010 users to the addition of the food ordering application, a series of in-stadium announcements, a 30-second promotional spot running on the video board and promotion on Phillies.com are planned.

The partners will also use social media such as the Phillies official Twitter and Facebook pages to get the word out.

What will likely drive the most interest is fans who see other fans having food delivered to their seats, per Aramark.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about providing services and offerings that are convenient and enhance the fan experience,” Mr. Hastings said.

“The food ordering feature allows fans to order from the comfort of their seat without missing a minute of action on the field,” he said.

“It also gives fans another way to manage their own game-day experiences.”

Final Take
Dan Butcher, associate editor, Mobile Commerce Daily