South Korea Baseball Team Develops Robots for Fans Unable to Attend
The Hanwha Eagles turn to technology to reinvent the fan-going experience and bring success back to the team
The game of baseball is complex, and players are largely affected by external factors such as superstition and positive reinforcement. Slumps are extremely difficult to escape, and players often resort to drastic measures to do so, i.e. performance-enhancing drugs, batting rituals, golden thongs.
Teams go through similar streaks as well, as is the case for the Hanwha Eagles of the South Korean baseball league, who have lost more than 400 games in the last five seasons. To boost team morale, and hopefully reignite fan interest in the struggling team, the club has created a crew of fanbots to help fill empty seats.
These robot fans offer an interactive cheering experience for fans unable, or disinterested in actually attending the games. Messages sent from fans via mobile or the web are live-streamed to LCD signs which are held by the bots. Fans can also choose to have their photos displayed on the fanbots’ LCD heads.
The video states that “At crucial moments, the fanbots encourage group cheering.” They can even move up and down to conduct slow “waves” of support. Their actions help keep up team morale and liven up the rest of the stadium. Players have shown their approval: Pitcher Andrew Albers says in the Fanbot video:
The signs out there out in the outfield, it’s a pretty neat idea. It gets the crowd into it and really helps them get involved,
There’s nothing quite like attending an actual baseball game- the foods, smells, and physical interaction with other fans all make the experience. But for disenchanted Eagles’ fans, technology may be the only way to rediscover their interest in the team and bring excitement back into the game.