RSN Productions Remain Status Quo Headed Into New Baseball Season
With Major League Baseball’s regular season officially underway, many regional sports networks (RSN) have never been financially healthier. Renegotiation of broadcast rights has given both teams and their respective channels a fiscal boost heading into 2012. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that game productions will see a significant overhaul during the first few months of the season. Many of the most notable RSNs are keeping things status quo but viewers can expect a few unique tweaks this season.
With Fenway Park celebrating its 100th anniversary it promises to be a memorable season for Red Sox Nation and the New England Sports Network (NESN).
The network has added a new wireless (RF) camera to showcase the game and Fenway Park in new ways during the 100th anniversary year. The camera is also expected to be used out on Yawkey Way for pre-game shots/interviews. NESN also carries its one-hour pre-game show from a mobile studio just outside Fenway on Yawkey Way.
Some new in-game elements will include dugout interviews with new manager Bobby Valentine (planned for Tuesday and Friday games) and further integration of social media and fan interaction.
North of the border plenty of attention is being paid to a young and talented Toronto Blue Jays squad that could make a run at the newly instated second Wild Card spot.
Sportsnet, formerly known as Rogers Sportsnet, says a typical Blue Jays broadcast from Rogers Center features nine cameras and is produced out of a Dome Productions truck. The network will not feature any drastic changes to its production model in 2012, though they have added a new super slo-mo camera.
“There’s a lot of buzz in the city around the Blue Jays this year,” says Rob Corte, VP of production at Sportsnet. “Neither the Maples Leafs nor the Raptors are going to make the playoffs this year and there’s a lot of talented and promising young players on the Jays and we’re all really excited for the season.”
To help capture some of that buzz, Sportsnet will again host its pregame and postgame shows from a set on the concourse overlooking the diamond.
Last season, the Cleveland Indians were the first big story when the Tribe shocked baseball by roaring out of the gate winning 30 of their first 45 games. Progressive Field saw record-breaking walk-up crowds and Sportstime Ohio (STO) enjoyed a strong boost in rating.
According to Steve Warren, coordinating producer at STO, there will be no new production enhancements this year but the network is still riding the high of recent additions including a Pitch FX system and an overhauled graphics package.
Indians home games feature between 10-11 cameras for a broadcast and are fibered back to the network’s production facility about a mile from the ballpark where the game is produced and directed. On the road, STO uses a variety of Game Creek trucks while deploying six cameras.