Entertainment • Culture • Sports

MLB Home Run Derby VR

By its final round, more than 120,500 concurrent Twitch viewers tuned in to MLB’s inaugural Home Run Derby VR tournament.

In the days leading up to the championship, thousands of baseball fans aimed for the virtual fences at GEICO All-Star FanFest.  The top-32 qualifiers were brought back to compete in a bracket-style competition hours ahead of the All-Star Home Run Derby at Nationals Park. 

Competitors used a proprietary VR bat to hit as many home runs as possible in 90 seconds and earn points based on distance and special multiplier targets.  The game was developed by MLB Games and VR team and powered by HTC's Vive Pro VR system on Alienware computers, giving participants a premium VR experience. BaAM created the environment for the VR experience at GEICO All-Star FanFest, carefully selecting the finishes, customizing walls and flooring, and integrating tech needs to accommodate bandwidth and broadcast requirements.

The competition brought fans of all ages together to determine the ultimate winner.  In the end, nine-year-old Mets fan, Chuck Smolka, was crowned champion and MLB Home Run Derby VR was the #1 ranked live streaming video on Twitch.TV, even surpassing the popular video game Fortnite.

"From the first qualifiers to that tournament-winning homer, our fans had a great time making Home Run Derby VR part of their FanFest and PLAY BALL Park experiences," said Jamie Leece, SVP, Games and VR, Major League Baseball.

Click here to watch the final round.

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