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Insights

How to delight baseball fans—and your customers too

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How do you design a great customer experience? First, you put people at the center—their needs, their passions, their motivations. Then you apply the best of data and technology to deliver something exceptional. At their best, personalized experiences tap into deep emotions and create lasting memories.

“The Cubs are a Chicago institution—we love our history, but we want to innovate too,” says Crane Kenney, head of business operations at the Chicago Cubs. “Slalom is helping us honor our past and innovate for the future.“

Slalom was honored to design, build, test, and execute such an experience for hundreds of the Chicago Cubs’ biggest fans. Through this partnership, over the course of four weeks, we demonstrated:

  • How data, design, and technology come together to create innovative, end-to-end experiences
  • How the growing accessibility of AI can power anything from complex business processes to a player’s walk-up song
  • How real-time data can be captured and shared in an experiential way to drive competition and fuel engagement


The “wow” factor

Last year, the Chicago Cubs’ annual Batting Practice at Wrigley Field—an exclusive event for premier customers—knocked previous events out of the park with a whole new level of interactivity and engagement. Attendees had the opportunity to participate in a series of baseball exercises where we measured their “stats.” They could strike their best game face with a custom walk-up song and compete against other fans using aggregated data projected on a scoreboard. At the end of the day, they left with personalized baseball cards to keep the memories alive.



A people-centered approach to AI

Among the unique experiences Slalom created was an AI application that predicted the perfect walk-up song for each player. Using sentiment analysis, the app analyzed each fan’s facial expression and played a corresponding song that fit their suggested “mood,” whether it be a happy and upbeat tune or an intense “pump-up” anthem.

“Walk-up songs are such a unique part of baseball, and Slalom helped bring that experience to life for our fans in a way that we hadn’t seen before,” says Kenney.



Using data to fuel engagement

By capturing fan stats and aggregating them into leaderboards throughout the ballpark, we showcased data in a way that was impactful and engaging for the attendees. Allowing fans to see their stats on the big screen in real time not only fueled competition, but ultimately created an extremely memorable experience.

“Imagine stepping on the mound at Wrigley Field and seeing your name on the scoreboard,” says Kenney. “Slalom helped bring that experience to life.“


Kids meeting Slalom at an event for the annual Batting Practice at Wrigley Field.
A baseball fan and a Slalom group, learning how to pitch at the annual Batting Practice at Wrigley Field.

Baseball is just a window into what’s possible. AI can predict our moods and inspire us to deal with challenges in new ways. Data can provide powerful information that drives engagement, and also save lives. Each day, technology offers more opportunities to give your customers exceptional experiences—and maybe even change the way they see the world.

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