MLB pitches its updated iOS, Android apps for Opening Day

Opening Day for Major League Baseball season is still over a month away, but the team behind the league’s mobile apps have come to Spring Training ready to go: later on Thursday the latest version of At Bat will be available for download from the iOS App Store(s AAPL) and Android Google Play(s GOOG) store. This season, pro baseball’s app is now offering a cross-platform subscription and a better deal for those who like listening to baseball games online.

To get the 2013 version of the app, iOS users simply have to download the update in the App Store — no need to download a whole new app. Returning Android users will have a choice depending on the app they have installed. If you had the app called At Bat, you just need to look for the update; if you had the At Bat ’12 app, you’ll have to look for a new app to download. (I’ll update this story with the direct link as soon as the app goes live.)

MLB At Bat 13The app is free, but to unlock access to live games for the 2013 season and World Series, it requires a one-time in-app purchase $19.99 subscription fee — or iOS users can pay in month installments of $2.99. However, as with last year’s version, subscribers to the league’s MLB.TV subscription plan for watching games online can get At Bat 13 for free.

Last year’s online and mobile video bundling deal resulted in downloads of the 2012 season app hitting 7 million, which surpassed the downloads during the 2010 and 2011 seasons combined.

This year, At Bat is again offering some cost-saving deals for subscribers that should juice downloads. Previously, fans had to pay separately for access to the mobile app as well as live game audio through the MLB.TV desktop website, but At Bat 13 subscribers will now get GameDay Audio (MLB.TV’s most popular feature) for free. And for subscribers who may own both iOS and Android devices: one subscription works on any platform now; you no longer have to pay for access on each.

Major League Baseball’s Advanced Media — whose CEO, Bob Bowman, will be speaking at our paidContent Live event in April — runs all of the league’s digital properties. And MLBAM made big strides this year in incorporating more news video and its historical video content into its mobile apps. Game highlight video will now be embedded in news stories in the app. More than 70 classic archived games dating back to the 1952 World Series will also be accessible, and the whole of MLB’s video highlights are finally searchable — it previously went back to just 2008. Stats are also playing a bigger part of the user experience: tablet users will now have access to sortable batting, pitching and fielding statistics.

Though it’s not yet ready, a version of At Bat for Blackberry 10 will arrive by Opening Day, I’m told.

This story was updated at 9:04 a.m. PT with a link to the iOS app.