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Red Sox player badges

Baseball already has pennants. Now, it is getting badges too — at least of the digital variety. Seattle startup BigDoor and MLB Advanced Media — the interactive arm of Major League Baseball — today announced that visitors to MLB.com can earn and collect player badges as part of an online rewards program powered by BigDoor.

The player badges were introduced on Opening Day, but they are formally being announced today as part of a larger “gamified experience” that BigDoor plans to deliver to MLB.com.

“Integrating a badging rewards program for fans as they consume content on MLB.com was a priority for the 2011 season,” said Joe Choti, chief technology officer at MLBAM in a press release. “We’re pleased to deliver this enhanced level of fan engagement through our partnership with BigDoor and its powerful and flexible gamification solution.”

The deal marks a high-profile win for BigDoor, which has been growing like a weed in recent weeks. The company now employs about 20 people, and has already outgrown its second floor office space at Founder’s Co-op in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood. (It plans to move to the first floor of the building in August. (Editor’s note: Post correct with correct move in date).

Led by Seattle entrepreneur Keith Smith, BigDoor is backed by Founder’s Co-op and Brad Feld’s Foundry Group. The company develops leaderboards and badge systems which reward users for engaging with a Web site’s content.

In the case of MLB.com, users earn badges when watching Game Day Live.

“For each game, three players are chosen from each team and are assigned an offensive stat, (for example) Ichiro + home-run,” explains Smith. “So if you are watching the game live on Game Day and Ichiro hits a home run, then you earn the Ichiro badge.”

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