How Mitel helped bring baseball to London

Baseball and Mitel
Image credit: Pixabay
(Image credit: Pixabay)

Rich McBee is President and CEO of Mitel. Under his leadership, Mitel has doubled revenue to more than $1 billion, emerged as a global leader in the business communications market with #1 market share in Europe and the fastest growing cloud communications business in the world.

What services did Mitel bring to the London Stadium this summer?

As Major League Baseball’s official business communications and technology partner, Mitel powered on- and off-field communications during this historic series of games.

The London Stadium was equipped with the same technology implemented across all 30 MLB stadiums in North America to enable seamless communications and collaboration between the dugouts, bullpens and press box, along with connecting teams back to the Replay Review Center in New York City.

Additionally, Mitel provided communications capabilities for other key stadium locations including the Commissioner’s suite, situation room, replay trailer and broadcast booth.

Our heritage runs deep across the UK and Europe so being able to bring the communications expertise we have delivered for MLB in North America to London for this landmark event was very exciting.

How will these help improve communication both on and off the field?

Unlike football, rugby or basketball, communications are critical to the smooth flow of a baseball game. During a game, baseball players, coaches, umpires and supporting staff are stationed in different locations around the field. If an umpire can’t make a call, a coach or manager can’t challenge a call, or a relief pitcher can’t be summoned at the right moment, the integrity of the game is affected.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup was the first time football fans were exposed to video reviews, but in baseball they are a common and important component of the sport. Mitel technology enables the on-field officials to connect with the Replay Review Center at MLB headquarters in New York where a play is analyzed and the decision passed back to the field. When replays occur during a game is unpredictable, so ensuring consistent, real-time communications is no small feat.

Were there any challenges in bringing your technology to a UK stadium for the first time?

Every stadium is unique from the layouts to the surrounding technology ecosystem at the park, which was a challenge we encountered as we implemented our solutions in the 30 MLB venues in North America.

London Stadium was no different in that respect; however, the real challenge was that an entire football stadium had to be transformed into a ballpark in less than a month’s time. Mitel teams on both sides of the Atlantic have worked hand-in-hand with MLB to deliver the communications technology piece of the transformation in an incredibly tight timeframe, which I think is a testament to the strong partnership we have.

It’s been inspiring to finally see the results of what so many people at Mitel, MLB and beyond have worked hard to achieve.

How strong is the partnership between Mitel and the MLB?

Although we only launched our partnership at the start of 2018, Mitel technology is now powering its second full season of baseball across North America.

To give you a few concrete figures, Mitel’s technology enables real-time communication for all 2,430 games in a season, plus the post-season. In 2018, we powered over 1,400 replay reviews.

Being a part of the historic series of games in London, the first MLB official games to ever be played in Europe, has been a true privilege and only continues to strengthen our partnership.

Are there any more services you're hoping to bring to the MLB in the future?

Mitel always has its eye on what’s next when it comes to communications and collaboration technology. There are fascinating things that can be done with emerging technologies such as creating communication workflows with Internet of Things devices or enhancing productivity with artificial intelligence.

As with any customer or partner, we continue to work with MLB on delivering solutions that enhance their operations and improve the experience for their users and fans while preserving the integrity of the game.

How big a role do you feel your technology can play in the sporting world as a whole?

Mitel has an incredibly strong track record of success with sports organizations. Across the globe, teams and clubs from the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs, to the Michael Johnson Performance Centre, Melbourne Football Club and Ottawa Senators rely on Mitel technology.

In fact, we work with more than 30 professional sports franchises, clubs, leagues and stadiums around the world. This has been a particularly exciting year for us in the UK as we’ve had the pleasure of providing communications and collaboration technology to UEFA’s current top two football clubs, Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC, and additionally outfitting the new Tottenham Stadium.

Technology is playing an increasing role in the mechanics of sports, the optimization of athlete performance and the productivity of the club staff. Clubs today are also incredibly savvy about how technology can help them engage fans and provide new, exciting experiences.

We see a bright future for Mitel in this area because communication plays a central role in all of that. I always come back to the belief that it doesn’t matter whether you’re working in retail, hospitality or sports.

Today’s customers - or fans - expect high-quality experiences, and the most successful organizations are the ones that are driving digital transformation by adopting high-performance technologies.

 

Rich McBee is President and CEO of Mitel.