The MLB press release posted here announces the collaboration between MLB and the blind community to make MLB’s websites accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired. The American Council of the Blind, the Bay State Council of the Blind, and the California Council of the Blind worked with MLB in the Structured Negotiations process to improve accessibility not just of mlb.com, but of the websites of all 30 major league ball clubs. Lainey Feingold and Linda Dardarian were the lawyers for the blind organizations in Structured Negotiations. The Disability Law Center in Boston was also involved in this initiative. You can read a summary of all posts on this website about Major League Baseball’s web accessibility initiative, including updates posted after this release, in the MLB.com Accessibility Category.
FANS WITH VISUAL IMPAIRMENTS GAIN ENHANCED ACCESS TO MLB.COM
New York (February 11, 2010)– Baseball fans with visual impairments will benefit from the implementation of functional improvements to MLB.com, the official Web site of Major League Baseball, and all 30 individual Club sites as a result of a joint collaboration between MLB Advanced Media, LP (MLBAM), the American Council of the Blind, Bay State Council of the Blind and California Council of the Blind. All three organizations applaud this fan initiative taken by MLBAM.
“MLBAM has undertaken groundbreaking work to make its web sites accessible and has assumed a strong leadership position among sports, media and entertainment properties in doing so,” said Mitch Pomerantz, President of the American Council of the Blind. “We certainly urge similar sites to make this level of commitment in following MLBAM’s lead.”
As part of its initiative, MLB.com launched an accessible media center for its MLB.com Gameday Audio™ subscribers, offering features such as volume control, ability to choose the home or away feed and access to archived games. Additionally, MLB.com has ensured that fans with visual impairments can continue to participate in the annual online voting programs associated with the All-Star Game and will be providing an accessibility page on its site detailing information on accessibility, usability tips and customer service resources. As it continues to deliver technological innovations for following baseball games, MLB.com will make additional accessibility enhancements available to fans with visual impairments.
Brian Charlson, a Boston baseball fan and Director of Computer Training Services at the Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton, Massachusetts, described how MLB.com’s accessibility efforts have improved his enjoyment of the game:
As a member of the blind community, the kind of changes MLB.com was willing to make on its web sites keeps me coming back for more. It shows how much can be done when people with disabilities find willing partners. For example, with the changes in Gameday Audio, I find myself enjoying switching back and forth between the home and away broadcasters the same way my sighted friends do. And knowing my votes were counted in this year’s All-Star balloting made listening to the game much more meaningful. I’m excited about what MLB.com has done and about its commitment to further improvements. — Brian Charlson, Carroll Center
MLB.com utilized guidelines issues by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The web content accessibility guidelines are of particular benefit to blind baseball fans who use a screen reader, through which information on a page is read aloud, or magnification technology on their computers and who rely on a keyboard instead of a mouse.
Established in June 2000 following a unanimous vote by the 30 Major League Baseball club owners to centralize all of Baseball’s Internet operations, MLB Advanced Media LP (MLBAM) is the interactive media and internet company of Major League Baseball. MLBAM manages the official league site, www.MLB.com,and each of the 30 individual Club sites to create the most comprehensive Major League Baseball resource on the Internet. MLB.com offers fans the most complete baseball information and interactivity on the web, including up-to-date statistics, game previews and summaries, extensive historical information, online ticket sales, baseball merchandise, authenticated memorabilia and collectibles, fantasy games, live full-game video webcasts and on-demand highlights, live and archived audio broadcasts of every game, Gameday pitch-by-pitch application, around-the-clock hosted and specialty video programming and complete blogging capabilities. MLB.com offers more live events on the Internet than any other website in the world.
About the American Council of the Blind (ACB), Bay State Council of the Blind (BSCB) and the California Council of the Blind (CCB)
The American Council of the Blind is a national consumer-based advocacy organization working on behalf of blind and visually impaired Americans throughout the country, with members organized through seventy state and special interest affiliates. The Bay State and California Councils are the Massachusetts and California affiliates of the ACB. The ACB, BSCB and CCB are dedicated to improving the quality of life, equality of opportunity and independence of all people who have visual impairments. Their members and affiliated organizations have a long history of commitment to the advancement of policies and programs which will enhance independence for people who are blind and visually impaired. Many members of ACB, BSCB and CCB are baseball fans. More information about the organizations can be found by visiting ACB’s website, BSCB’s website, and CCB’s website.
- Matthew Gould
For ACB, BSCB and CCB
- Brian Charlson (Bay State Council of the Blind)
- Mitch Pomerantz (American Council of the Blind)
- Jeff Thom (California Council of the Blind)
- Visit mlb.com’s accessibility information page.
- Visit mlb.com’s Accessibility FAQs
- Read the full MLB Accessible Website Agreement on Lainey Feingold’s website
- Read the Boston Globe article featuring Brian Charlson and the MLB settlement
- Read the KCBS story and listen to the broadcast featuring Jeff Thom and the MLB settlement
- Read more about Structured Negotiations, the dispute resolution process used by MLB and the blind organizations on this web accessibility issue.