The Digimarc Blog

Digimarc in the Dugout

How Digimarc Barcode can help authenticate major league milestones

For baseball fans, September magnifies the importance of every game as teams vie for the postseason. The end of the season also focuses attention on players approaching significant statistical milestones and career accomplishments.

This year, several Major League Baseball (MLB) players are within reach of notable achievements. Miami outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, already one of only six players in history to hit 50 or more home runs before September, is on pace to surpass 60 home runs this season – the most since the league cracked down on steroid use. Some purists still consider the 61 home runs Roger Maris hit in 1961 as the “real” record.

Ryan Braun and Robinson Cano are on the precipice of passing the 300-home run mark, and Albert Pujols is poised to break into the Top 10 for all-time runs batted in (RBIs). Catching the specific baseball used for an important play can be a windfall for a lucky fan.

It’s no secret sports are big business. It’s estimated the market for licensed sports merchandise is $12 billion, part of a worldwide collectible market worth nearly $400 billion. And, sports memorabilia often increase in value over time, making authenticity – the ability to verify balls, bats and jerseys as the real thing – vitally important to the lucrative industry.

In fact, MLB reportedly employs about 150 authenticators, many of whom are current or former law enforcement officials. They manually authenticate memorabilia at more than 2,000 games each year. MLB averages about 500,000 new authentications – individual unique items – each year. And, when special milestones approach, authenticators apparently mark every ball used with a holographic sticker and alphanumerical code. It’s tedious and time intensive.

Imagine if there were an easier, more efficient way. At Digimarc, we did.

The cover of baseballs is made from horsehide or cowhide and, if you’re wondering, yes, the leather is ‘barcode-able.’ Digimarc Barcode is an advanced barcode that can unobtrusively and more reliably identify packaging, print and other objects – nearly anything, really.

It’s the barcode of everything. Including baseballs, which we laser-etched with a code that can’t be scuffed, smudged or copied.

See how in a sneak preview of our upcoming “Will it Barcode?” series, where we’ll enhance other unique objects that can benefit from an imperceptible yet unfailingly accurate identity.

video of a baseball enhanced with Digimarc Barcode being scanned, with the payoff being a video of a player hitting a home run during a baseball game
 

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