FiOS TV Swings Interactive Bat


America’s two pastimes — baseball and TV — are getting hitched in Verizon’s newest interactive TV widget.

The FiOS TV baseball widget, available this week to subscribers, will provide scores, standings, player info and news, Verizon announced Wednesday.

But really, the widget looks designed to tempt subscribers into buying the MLB Extra Innings ($189 per season) out-of-market games package: They can order it by pressing the “C” button on their remote.

FiOS fans who subscribe to MLB Extra Innings can use the widget to customize on-screen game alerts for up to 10 teams, based on several different criteria, including: start of game, end of game, pitching changes, runs scored, home runs, lead changes, start of the 9th inning, and extra innings. The alerts pop up regardless of which channel the set-top is tuned to.

Verizon last year added Extra Innings, which offers up to 80 regular season games per week, after more than a year of negotiation with Major League Baseball (see Extra Innings: FiOS Finally Adds Baseball Fare). This year it’s offering customers a free one-week preview of MLB Extra Innings from April 5 through 11 — as are other cable providers that offer the package.

The telco said the widget is not based on EBIF. Verizon has deployed some ITV apps that use that CableLabs spec, such as the mixed martial arts app for Showtime Networks that they debuted last month.