Ina Fried

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T-Mobile’s New Pitch: Renting Android Tablets at Baseball Games

Upon entering a baseball stadium, one expects to hear chants of “programs, programs, get your programs.” At least at one ballpark, however, that chant may be shifting to “tablets, tablets, get your game-day tablets.”

Since July, wireless carrier T-Mobile has been offering $10 rentals of the G-Slate and Galaxy Tab at Los Angeles Angels home games, complete with a tablet-optimized version of the game program. In addition to the program, tablet renters can get free magazine content from Zinio and, in the case of the G-Slate, free access to T-Mobile TV.

While the units can’t dispense Cracker Jack, the tablets are just the beginning of the addition of more tech to the ballpark, according to Angels chairman Dennis Kuhl.

“We wanted to enhance the fan experience while viewing home games, and we’re excited to bring this partnership with T-Mobile to life,” Kuhl said in a statement. “We see lots of possibilities and are really just at the beginning of this new offering for our fans.”

The program began, T-Mobile said, with a beta program near the beginning of the season, and the company has been working to improve its network inside the stadium; it’s also beefing up the content on the devices.

“We’re always excited to bring T-Mobile customers unique offerings that they can’t find elsewhere, and that’s exactly what we’re doing for Angels fans who rent a tablet, T-Mobile Southern California VP Darrin Silveria said in a statement.

It’s clear that visitors are already using their smartphones and tablets at ball games. Indeed, some companies are starting to target apps specifically at those attending games. The Portland Timbers soccer team, for example, has partnered with app developer Meridian on an in-stadium Android and iPhone guide that offers details on everything from finding seats to looking up the lyrics to team chants. Meridian plans to announce a deal to create apps for the Jacksonville Jaguars’s EverBank Field.

Several other stadiums have partnerships allowing patrons to order food or get other information from their smartphones. Meanwhile, Safeco Field in Seattle has offered Nintendo DS system rentals, ideally to try out the Nintendo Fan Network, but also perhaps giving fans an alternative to watching the Mariners lose.

To see a video of the tablets in action, check out this YouTube video made by the Los Angeles Times as part of its write-up on the tablet initiative.

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