MLB Network produces seven alternate playoff broadcasts


MLB Network just brought postseason baseball to a global audience like never before.

During Saturday’s full day of the Division Series, MLB Network aired seven different live games covering all four postseason games for fans around the world, from the U.S. to Europe to India.

All four Division Series games – Rangers vs. Orioles, Twins vs. Astros, Phillies vs. Braves and D-backs vs. Dodgers – were televised by the BBC. Both National League games will be broadcast in Spanish for U.S. viewers. The Phillies-Braves game was broadcast on STAR India.

“This is for the fans,” said Marc Caiafa, senior vice president of production for MLB Network. “In every country, whether it’s a Spanish-speaking audience in England, India or the United States, we just want to make sure they understand the essence of the game.”

The entire event took place at the MLB Network studios in Secaucus, New Jersey, making it an unprecedented day for the Network. Each studio is used for broadcasts of seven games. Hundreds of people were involved in the production.

“The building is buzzing. It’s a lot of fun,” said Chris Pfeiffer, MLB Network vice president of live events. “I think it’s exciting that audiences around the world can actually experience our game.”

The day begins with the Rangers’ first of four games on the BBC’s March Madness format on MLB Network’s Studio 21, with a diverse broadcast team: O’s member Melanie Newman, MLB Network’s Xavier Scruggs and Felix White for the BBC.

“It’s been really cool to see a lot of UK fans contacting us on social media, telling us where they’re having watch parties or all these bars they’re going to after work,” said Newman, who is also the BBC’s director of this season’s London series. One of the commentators.

“We gave them some of their biggest rivals in history. We showed the Red Sox against the Yankees, we showed the Cardinals against the Cubs. That was in their own backyard. Now it’s a promotion season The opportunity in the postgame, it’s just as special as some of these rivalries are. I think for those fans who are still looking for a team that they can even identify with as a fan, this could be their moment.”

The BBC broadcast not only required multiple announcers to split the games in Studio 21 (MLB Network’s Robert Flores and Jake Peavy joined White for two of the games), but also required MLB Network to bring in two auxiliary Game Creek Nitro video trucks outside the studio Helps transfer games.

MLB Network said: “This is a unique opportunity for us to leverage both ends of MLB Network — our remote end and our studio end — and create one entity from both groups that truly Promoting the game to our burgeoning fan base.” Jason Hedgcock, Senior Director of Remote Technology Operations. “If you want to choose who is going to present baseball to emerging fans in India, the UK or wherever, then leveraging the expertise we have here really helps get that product off the ground.”

The BBC’s coverage of the MLB playoffs – which also includes a continuation of the playoffs including Game 1 of the World Series – caps off a year of development for baseball in England , a year of development that began with Britain’s participation in the World Baseball Classic and included the return of the London Series for the first time since 2019.

“This is the pinnacle event of a very important year for us,” said Ben Ladkin, managing director of MLB Europe. On Saturday, he was on MLB Network helping to oversee the BBC’s broadcasts. “All we want to do is immerse people in the course of a day. It’s the most ambitious thing we’ve ever done with the BBC and they’ve been a great partner to us in trying to make this game.”

While the BBC was in the studio for the full-day broadcast, the domestic Spanish-language broadcast on MLB Network carried the two final games, with the Braves hosting the Phillies and the Dodgers hosting the D’s in the first of two NLDS games. -backs. .

These broadcasts will also continue throughout the National League Division Series and League Championship Series, with veteran MLB Network team announcements featuring Fernando Alvarez, Candy Maldonado, Carlos Pena, Farde Alonso and Clemson Smith-Muniz are both calling the game from the MLB Network studios.

“When we broadcast the game live in Spanish, I can share my love for the game, my observations and my insights and experiences with the Latino community, the Spanish-speaking community in our own native language,” Peña said. “It’s definitely an honor and a privilege to be able to share the love of the game with a Latino, Spanish-speaking audience. I don’t take it lightly at all. It’s also a huge responsibility. Because the audience is so connected to the game of baseball, it really Motivates me to perform at my best.”

MLB Network’s ability to reach a global audience with seven games a day doesn’t just mean broadcast on international television stations such as the BBC or STAR India. Spanish-language broadcasts for U.S. fans who may have a Latin American background are also part of the effort.

“That’s the great thing about Spanish-language broadcasts – they serve fans domestically who may only speak Spanish, and they can now access Spanish-language games with Spanish graphics that are available on U.S. providers,” Hedgeco said K said.

Hedgcock was involved in a two-month project (only on the technical side) that culminated in the creation of the game at Network Studios. On Saturday, all plans came true.

One of the most unique aspects of MLB Network’s International Postseason Baseball Day is STAR India’s coverage of the Phillies-Braves game. MLB and MLB Network have partnered with STAR India to broadcast several other MLB games this season, but this first postseason broadcast marks the continued growth of bringing the sport to India.

STAR India broadcasts are set up differently than BBC or Spanish-language broadcasts. Play-by-play announcer Jacob Wilkins is in the MLB Network studios — another packed studio Saturday — but analysts Tejas Goradia, Manish Batavia and Aayush Sharma are both in India.

To connect all the independent broadcasters and the TV show itself, MLB Network is using cloud company Spalk.

“Our technical team is very creative and they can find all kinds of innovations to make this happen. They love it. You give them a challenge and they go for it,” said Sue, MLB Network’s senior vice president of operations and engineering. Shan Stone. “What’s exciting for all of us is opening up new markets for the game and contributing to the game’s growth overseas. And also the team and community we’ve created here, we’ve been able to turn that into a pretty big The community business is successful. “

MLB is more visible in India than ever – the Blue Jays drafting Indian-born Arjun Nirmala in the first round this year was a big deal – MLB Network via STAR India Broadcasting hope will only add to that.

“Making baseball accessible to fans in the Indian market is key to our efforts to increase accessibility,” said Ryo Takahashi of MLB India. “Being able to do this through dedicated broadcasts allows us to engage with our audiences. A deeper connection.”

On the one hand, MLB Network’s playoff broadcast on Saturday for fans in India and England, as well as Latin American fans in the U.S., is just a small part of MLB’s efforts to grow the sport globally. But on the other hand, if you were in Secaucus on Saturday, you’d see just how much effort goes into making all of these games.

“Obviously, it starts and ends with games and showing them off,” Kayaffa said. “But it’s incredible for this place. It’s incredible that we know we have a responsibility to get all this stuff out.”

“The fact that we have a small place in Secaucus — it’s not small — and it serves so many different markets and now so many different countries is special.”

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