The Home Run Derby is often the most exciting part of Major League Baseball’s annual All-Star Game festivities. This year, fans will get the chance to swing for the fences themselves — in virtual reality — thanks to a new competition MLB is putting on.
Fans of all ages attending the GEICO All-Star FanFest or Play Ball Park from Friday through Sunday at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., will have a chance to qualify for the Home Run Derby VR Championship on Monday.
The top 32 qualifiers will compete in a bracket-style competition for the championship beginning at 2 p.m. ET on Monday at FanFest. The entire championship event will be streamed live on multiple platforms, including Twitch, YouTube, Facebook and Mixer.
MLB’s “Home Run Derby VR” game was launched in April for HTC Vive and Sony PlayStation VR, as well as mobile devices. The game features the All-Star ballparks for the years 2017-19 (Marlins Park, Nationals Park and Progressive Field).
The winning slugger will receive a custom Tiffany & Co. Official Derby trophy as well as a grand-prize package that includes four tickets to the All-Star Game, a commemorative Louisville Slugger bat, a custom All-Star Game jersey, an official on-field cap for any MLB team and a one-year subscription to MLB.TV.
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Meanwhile, in the real contest between professional home run hitters, sponsor T-Mobile is pledging big bucks for big hits. The Bellevue, Wash.-based wireless carrier announced that every ball hit out of the park on Monday will earn $5,000 for Team Rubicon, a disaster-response organization led by military veterans. Follow the #HatsOff4Heroes hashtag throughout All-Star festivities.