NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Take a deep breath......you smell that? It's the sweet scent of freshly cut grass as Major League Baseball parks across the country host their opening days. 2014 promises to be an extra special year for a number of reasons:
- Derek Jeter will wave goodbye to his playing career, and wave hello to a family and team ownership in the not too distant future.
- Instant replay makes its debut.
- New premium food inventions will explode in most MLB parks. For example. The New York Yankees are now serving Red Stag, yes that is liquor, BBQ Wings. They also have chicken and waffle taco carts at Gate 6, a build your own nacho helmet, and Papa John's (PZZA) as an official sponsor. The Detroit Tigers are serving burrito bowls in the spirit of Chipotle (CMG). Not to be outdone, the Pittsburgh Pirates have a nine cheese grilled cheese sandwich called "The Closer."
Certainly exciting times. However, the 2014 MLB season will also usher in one HUGE thing: the official rollout of Apple's (AAPL) iBeacon technology to 20 of 30 MLB ballparks. Already, the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers have installed 19 and 65 iBeacons, respectively, in their parks.
Here is the 411 on the invasion of tech into the national pastime:
- 2014 will mark the arrival of digital turnstiles as a result of iBeacon. By downloading a free MLB app, turning on iBeacon and Bluetooth, you will be automatically checked into the park when in the proper vicinity.
- iBeacon will help people find their seats quicker (bye-bye ushers) and make them aware of merchandise specials and entrainment going on around their seating universe.
Major League Baseball will be controlling what is flowed onto your Apple device as to prevent profit-hungry team execs from turning into spammers. So much for just enjoying the game uninterrupted. Brian Sozzi out.
-- By Brian Sozzi CEO of Belus Capital Advisors, analyst to TheStreet.