Put me in, coach. I’m ready to replay.
Video conference company Zoom hit a clutch home run with MLB this season as on-field umpires will use the software to review disputed plays. As Yogi Berra put it, “you can observe a lot just by watching.”
Hey, Batta Batta
MLB introduced instant replays for certain calls in 2008, and it’s become an occasionally frustrating part of America’s pastime. According to the Associated Press, there were 1,434 video reviews last season that included 1,261 team challenges with 50.2% leading to overturned calls. The umpires on the field, however, never reviewed the tape, but would huddle awkwardly as they waited for a replay umpire elsewhere to radio in their decision. For this upcoming season, field umpires will be given iPads – sorry, Android fans, but Apple secured an $85 million annual streaming rights deal with MLB last year – to review plays and discuss with the replay umpire, who still makes the final decision.
Despite the league’s best effort to speed things up, baseball remains a slow, methodical sport with games typically lasting about three hours. In that same amount of time you could’ve watched The Godfather, or cooked a Thanksgiving turkey, or taken a high-speed train from London to Paris. That isn’t stopping Zoom from root, root, rooting for the home team:
- Zoom became ingrained in our lives during the pandemic as school, business meetings, and doctor’s appointments all transitioned to video chat. In October 2020, its stock saw a noteworthy height of $560 a share.
- But it didn’t last. Zoom fatigue is real, the world is open again, and despite revenue increasing 7% year-over-year, the company’s stock has since plummeted 87% since its pandemic peaks to about $70. It’s another tech company that flew too close to the COVID sun.
All in one place: Looking ahead, Zoom will have to diversify beyond just video calls if it wants to compete with the likes of Google and Slack. At last year’s Zoomtopia, the company announced it will introduce email integration, a calendar system, and a team chat function. These days, every app needs to be an everything app.