April 25, 2019

WPI, PawSox create ballpark technology partnership

Photo | Grant Welker
Pawtucket Red Sox principal owner and chairman Larry Lucchino and Worcester Polytechnic Institute President Laurie Leshin sign an agreement joining the team and WPI to creating technology for the team's planned Worcester ballpark Thursday.

When the Pawtucket Red Sox begin play in Worcester in 2021, it may be Worcester Polytechnic Institute students who help give Polar Park the latest technology.

A partnership announced Thursday between the team and WPI will have students working on projects to make the game experience as modern as anywhere, potentially including mobile apps for ordering food, technology to help fans find parking or special seating for those with sensory challenges.

The technology hasn't been created yet, but WPI President Laurie Leshin said she envisions virtual reality sets offering player statistics or even a robot throwing out the first pitch.

Incorporating the latest technology into the planned ballpark is a priority, PawSox principal owner and chairman Larry Lucchino said. "This is an opportunity, this ballpark," Lucchino said at Thursday's announcement.

The team plans to begin play in the city-owned park for the 2021 season. The partnership with WPI, which makes the school the team's official academic technology advisor, will begin next school year and continue through the 2023 baseball season.

The agreement may include WPI signage at the ballpark and educational and interactive exhibits at the park. No financial terms of the deal were disclosed.

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