VML partnered with Major League Baseball and The Kansas City Royals to bring baseball to under-privileged kids in Kansas and the rest of America.
Across America, inner-city children have nowhere to play baseball making them more likely to drop out of school and join gangs.
So, Major League Baseball developed the Urban Youth Academy to bring baseball back to under-privileged kids.
But the program has failed in every city because of lack of awareness and funding.
Their last hope was Kansas City. Home to the Royals and the most passionate fans in baseball. Knowing fans were eagerly awaiting the first pitch to start the new season, an honor usually reserved for celebrities and dignitaries.
We decided to let thousands of fans do it instead. We called it Relay the Way and created the longest opening day first pitch ever. For a small donation, fans helped relay the first pitch 15km from downtown to the Royals stadium. Demand was so high, spots sold out in less than 2 days.
And for fans who couldn’t be there, we engineered the first ever wifi enabled baseball for the event. VML installed a web server encased in Kevlar inside an official baseball. A proprietary code and script was created to allow anyone, anywhere in the world to leave their mark on the ball by sending a message of support directly to it.
Every throw and message helped raised 6.5 million dollars, setting a record for the organization, finally raising the awareness and funding the Urban Youth Academy needed to survive. New fields are already under construction in Kansas City and Major League Baseball plans to take Relay the Way to other cities bringing baseball to under-privileged kids across America.