Introducing BatBox. After Eatertainment Comes Sportstainment

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We recently sat down with Craig Winning, Managing Director, Batbox.  Formerly involved in eatertainment brands Punch Bowl Social and TOCA Social, he sees an exciting new augmented reality-powered and simulated playfuture for the category. He calls it Sportstainment.

We’ve already seen sports like pickleball and golf in combination with finer dining throughout the U.S. Now, baseball has been added to the food/beverage/sports growth season with the launch of Batbox.

The simulator has its origins in Asia. Batbox’s founder, Jose D. Vargas, visited South Korea in 2015 and observed a rise in simulated sports. As a result, he brought Golfzon (a simulated golf game) to Mexico under the brand Mulligans.

The founder also noticed that simulated baseball had tremendous potential. He not only launched the Batbox brand in Mexico (six locations), but also became a distributor of the technology itself.

Batbox-branded locations will be throwing their first pitches in the U.S. soon. The original plan was to launch in the U.S. pre-pandemic, but the expansion was delayed. The first Batbox location is targeted for Texas.

As with pickleball, empty shopping mall locations for VR-based gaming centers. Winning says that the “sweet spot” for Batbox footprints is approximately 15k to 25K square feet. It is especially suited to hot or cold climates, where outdoor gameplay is often challenging.

The experience is immersive, and up to 18 people can play per game, making it ideal for company outings and family gatherings. No physical running is involved. The technology adjusts to each participant’s player profile, making it ideal for novices to budding “all stars.”

The goal is to open 20 locations in the U.S. over the next five years. Batbox has the potential to adopt a licensing model and views Major League Baseball and college baseball fan markets as primary targets. Batbox is expected to appeal to three primary audiences:

  • Sports enthusiasts
  • Large social groups and families
  • Businesses for group gatherings (expected to be 25-35 percent of total revenue)

And, just as in modern ballparks, the food and beverage will go beyond hot dogs and mass-market beer brands. Scratch-made food and local craft brews will be on the elevated menus, which will be regionalized based on tastes and brands in each region.

Marketing plans will include a heavy emphasis on social media (which will accelerate word-of-mouth). Because Batbox is a relatively new concept, the marketing will be highly visual, so prospects can get a feel for how the games are played. In addition, local on-the-ground marketing teams and influencers will drive traffic. Will use social media heavily to simulate the simulation.

Batter-up and best of luck to this new MULO (multi-location) Sportstainment brand!


Nancy A Shenker, senior editor with Street Fight, is a former big brand (Citibank, Mastercard, Reed Exhibitions) marketing strategist and leader. She has been featured in, the New York Times and Forbes.