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North America’s Major League Baseball (MLB) has today (March 16) announced a multi-faceted partnership with video communications firm Zoom.

Zoom is now the league’s official unified communications platform, as well as the presenting partner of the MLB replay review – the process through which the umpire crew at each game uses video technology to replay incidents and arrive at the correct decision.

The partnership has been described as a “first-of-its-kind, aimed to enhance MLB games and the fan viewership experience.”

For the replay review sector of the tie-up, Zoom will connect the most senior umpire at each game to its Zoom Replay Operations Center during any replay review.

During broadcasts on MLB Network and on Apple TV, meanwhile, fans will see that center in action live and will also hear from an analyst during the incident.

This is the first time all stages of the replay review system have been brought together by one operator, with MLB saying this will “create a more transparent and engaging review process.”

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Historically, the connection between umpires on the field and the replay review center – and therefore the fans' experience of the decision process – has been audio-only.

MLB will also use Zoom to “securely deliver sensitive information” during day one of the 2023 MLB Draft.

In addition, the Zoom collaboration platform is now being used by several MLB clubs, platforms, and broadcast outlets, as well as the league’s own corporate offices.

MLB said that its new partner will “deliver unprecedented transparency to the fans and enhanced communications between front office staff, umpires, and league officials.”

The league’s chief operations and strategy officer, Chris Marinak, commented: “We are always looking for innovative ways to leverage best-in-class technology to advance the MLB experience and deliver more to our fans. Partnering with Zoom, a category leader that reinvented the way we connect, was a natural next step for us.

“We are excited to integrate Zoom Contact Center and other Zoom platform technology into our gameday operations …”

Janine Pelosi, chief marketing officer at Zoom, added: “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. 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.”
In September, Zoom became a sponsor of Red Bull Racing, the heavyweight team from motor racing’s Formula 1 (F1).

It is also a partner of F1 itself, as well as of golf’s DP World Tour.

Image: Steph Chambers/Getty Images