‘Ex-Stream Games’ Coming To Lehigh Valley

Lehigh Valley

Lehigh Valley’s ballpark (Photo by David Schofield)

The Lehigh Valley IronPigs (International League) are bringing their latest promotional brainchild to the men's room, where it will unveil the first urinal gaming system in minor league baseball.

The pee-controlled gaming system--created by U.K.-based Captive Media--will allow male fans to play hands-free games like alpine skiing and trivia that will be displayed on a monitor at the top of a urinal in every men's room at Coca-Cola Park. As a person approaches the urinal--there will be one with the gaming system in each men's room--it flips into gaming mode. The user can then engage with the screen by aiming in different directions to score points and answer questions. Upon completion, users will have the opportunity to post their results on Twitter and high scores will be displayed in real time across various video boards in the ballpark.

"We like to call it the Ex-stream Games," joked Lehigh Valley general manager Kurt Landes, whose team will host the Triple-A National Championship in September. "These games are sure to make a huge splash."

And an ancillary benefit, Landes said, is that Captive Media reports that restaurants and bars in the U.K. which have installed the gaming system have reported an increase of 15 to 20 percent in beverage sales. "It was not our intent at the beginning, but if we are able to increase beverage sales by any amount, it will certainly be worth the investment," he said.

The idea was first born at a staff retreat four years ago, when Landes and IronPigs director of creative services Matt Zidik thought it would be cool to convert a urinal into a carnival game of sorts--the one where you take aim at a target with a water pistol. Unable to pull that off, the team discovered Captive Media online and have stayed in touch over the past few years until the technology was ready and it passed the pee test.

"There are a lot of things in the course of 20 years that you do as a general manager or while you work in baseball that gets you excited," said Landes, whose team has topped the minors in attendance each of the past three seasons. "You realize that you are in a unique job or role, but when you are selling urinal games to sponsors, that is one of the most unique things I've done."

Creatively, Lehigh Valley is teaming up with a local urologist as the sponsor of the team's entire "digital bathroom package," which urinal games and their other offseason bathroom addition: interactive mirrors in the men's and women's restrooms. These mirrors will display video--from sponsors or of upcoming events at the ballpark--that will minimize into a corner when a person steps in front of it. As the person steps away from it, the video returns to full-size.

The bathroom games are part of the team's offseason ballpark improvements, which will also include a social media command center--which the team has dubbed the PorkCenter. Located in a renovated room just off the concourse that will feature six television monitors and a staff member dedicated to the team's social media outlets, fans can interact with the team either through the @PorkCenter Twitter handle or through a tour of the command center.

"This will be in a visible area of the concourse, so fans will have the opportunity to understand and see that we are active in social media. We are taking social media as seriously as any team has taken it," Landes said.