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VR Helps Shape All-Star FanFest Experience

All-Star Fan Fest

With the annual Major League Baseball All-Star Game comes one of the league’s more notable offerings to its fans, the All-Star FanFest. For this year’s FanFest in Miami, attendees are being treated to virtual reality (VR) technology that adds to the experience. 

As is custom, this year’s MLB All-Star Game–which is being hosted by the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park–features a FanFest as one of its related events. Staged at the Miami Beach Convention Center, this year’s FanFest includes the Esurance Behind The Plate With Buster Posey VR Experience, an offering that allows fans to get behind the plate and receive virtual pitches at major league quality.

Backed by the San Francisco Giants star catcher Buster Posey, the VR feature has proven to be a hit thus far, providing fans with a realistic glimpse at what its like to catch fastballs and breaking balls from major league pitchers. It also reflects the latest product of the ongoing effort to spice up the FanFest experience through VR technology. More from the AP:

Developed by GMR Marketing, the Esurance Behind The Plate With Buster Posey VR Experience allows fans to “catch” fastballs, curveballs and sliders from a generic pitcher at velocities ranging from 86-93 mph.

“I’ve always said that I thought it would be cool for the average fan to either step in the box or like this get behind the plate and get the same sense of what it’s like to see a 90-plus, 95-mile an hour fastball coming your way,” Posey explained last week.

Esurance Insurance Services Inc., a subsidiary of Allstate Corp., became a sponsor of Major League Baseball in 2015 and signed Posey as a brand ambassador. The company had a 180-degree photo experience at the 2015 FanFest in Cincinnati, then provided 360-degree videos of fans taking swings last year in San Diego.

In a dual setup at FanFest, which opened Friday and runs through Tuesday, people get to signal for three pitches over about 90 seconds as Posey’s recorded voice offers tips. They can choose the pitch type by pointing their glove toward an icon on the screen, triggering a sensor. When a pitch is successfully caught, the person hears and feels the mitt snap.

The technology is featured alongside traditional FanFest staples such as autograph opportunities, instructional clinics, and Q&A sessions with current and former players. With that mix of offerings, FanFest continues to be a sought-after All-Star Game event for attendees, something our own Jeff Goldberg noted when he reported on last year’s festivity in San Diego.

The MLB All-Star Game will be played on Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. eastern.

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