The changes keep on coming for the 2023 MLB season, and the league’s latest move will give fans a peek behind the curtain of the replay review process.
The league announced a partnership with Zoom on Thursday. On top of connecting umpires with the replay operations center in New York City, the technology will give viewers a chance to watch those interactions on select MLB broadcasts.
“We are always looking for innovative ways to leverage best-in-class technology to advance the MLB experience and deliver more to our fans,” MLB chief operations and strategy officer Chris Marinak said in a press release. “Partnering with Zoom, a category leader that reinvented the way we connect, was a natural next step for us.”
MLB will use Zoom during broadcasts on MLB Network and Apple TV+ to show the interactions between on-field umpires and the replay center. Those broadcasts will also feature a rules analyst to break down the reviews. The ballparks in which those games are taking place will also have access to the Zoom views from the broadcast.
Replay review was first used in MLB in 2008 for disputed home run calls. The league expanded its use in 2014 by giving managers one challenge to start each game and a second if the first challenge was successful. The league made other modifications to replay in 2015 and 2016.
Prior to this new change, umpires only received audio from the league’s replay center. Now, they will have an iPad Pro brought out to them to see what’s going on.
“Zoom’s rapid pace of innovation and obsession with making human connection easier and better is crucial to help MLB evolve its experience and deliver unprecedented transparency and access to its fans,” Zoom chief marketing officer Janine Pelosi said. “With MLB leveraging Zoom Contact Center and Zoom’s all-in-one collaboration platform, we are able to truly show the world how a historical brand can continue to innovate and unlock new possibilities.”