December 14th, 2017
This December at the 2017 Baseball Winter Meetings, MetsPlus was given an inside look at the 2017 Baseball Trade Show. Below is Part 1 of a series, Part 2 will come out tomorrow.
Last year, the Baseball Trade Show recap was one of my favorite all time posts on MetsPlus, so I was delighted when I was given the opportunity to return to the Trade Show in Orlando, and see the new innovations that creators and exhibitors had prepared.
The process of picking up my pass wasn’t hard at all. Since the venue wasn’t a labyrinth like it was last year, the registration counter was fairly easy to find. Folks from MiLB run those counters, and they are extremely friendly and welcoming. It took a few minutes to find my pass since my last name was mis-spelled, but they were so apologetic about something so small, and they went as far as to come around the counter to point out where the Trade Show was.
As a mentioned earlier, the venue was separated in two different hotels. The World Swan and the World Dolphin. The Trade Show was located at the end of the World Dolphin resort, downstairs in the Atlantic Ballroom. To be admitted, I simply had to scan my ticket at the top of the ballroom escalator.
Nearly, everything in the Trade Show was branded with the logo, and the representatives were wearing cool Purple baseball uniforms with the Trade Show logo.
When I got to the bottom of the escalator, I got my first taste of just how big the Trade Show was. There were two rooms being used in the Trade Show, one in the front, and another one around 400 feet behind it. I took a panorama with my phone, and I could not see the back of the first room.
Every section of the Trade Show was divided into an area to make it easier for potential buyers. The basic premise of the Trade Show is a venue for companies to highlight their products to buyers who are looking to implement their product. Most of the buyers were representatives from different Major and Minor League clubs, and even some colleges.
Every attendee gets a “Buyer’s Guide” which highlights the location and description of every kiosk. So, if you were looking for Tyson Foods, you’d go to the “100” section, by looking at the placards hanging from the ceiling.
I was amazed by all of the new technology on offer at the Baseball Trade Show. I’m pretty sure everyone has seen the infamous Blast Baseball commercial featuring Carlos Correa.
Their representative explained the technology to me, and it is actually quite simple. Basically, you apply the Blast sensor to the knob of your bat, at as you swing, the sensor loads tons of analytics to your connected device.
Also in new technology were the advances in ballpark technology. I first talked with the representatives from Ceia, who produces metal detectors for all thirty MLB teams, and select Minor League parks. Rather refreshingly, the reps admitted, that their detectors are not and probably will not be implemented at every minor league ballpark around the league, but Ceia can still work with teams to develop security plans.
When I told them that I attend the Triple-A All-Star game every year, and about my surprise to see detectors at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, WA, when they aren’t at Citi Field in New York City, they reaffirmed their position of being at the best place for each and every team. While it might sound naive, it was reassuring to have such welcoming reps being insightful about something the people despise.
Another cool innovation was POS systems for ordering food at the ballpark. I tried out a few of them, which allows for quick processing and customization. How awesome would this be at Citi Field?
Personally, I have some doubts if this could fully be implemented at Citi Field, and I wish those prices reflected the actual prices, but it was a really neat idea. NCR, which manufactures a lot of those kiosks you see at airports, was behind this technology.
Another area of advanced technology was ticket scanning, which the Tickets.com booth displayed. This new self-service (non-turnstile) scanner, processes tickets in less than a second, and was pretty efficient when I tried it out:
On Part 2 of the Trade Show recap, we look at some of the more classic and retro exhibits at the Baseball Trade Show.