Live From MLB All-Star: From Parade to Postgame, MLB Network Has Midsummer Classic Covered
When MLB Network hit airwaves in 2009, New York City had just hosted the All Star Game a few months prior to launch. Now that the midsummer classic has returned to the Big Apple, MLB Network isn’t just present at Citi Field. They’re making sure coverage of this year’s All-Star Week is the biggest and best yet.
Beginning with Monday’s press conference and extending through the All-Star Game postgame show on Tuesday, MLB Network has 14 hours of programming planned across the two days. In addition to the press conference set-up in the Caesars Club, located on the fifth floor behind home plate, MLB Network has two set locations in Citi Field: an on-field set, located on the third base line, and a smaller set in section 140.
MLB Network’s All-Star coverage kicked off on Monday with the All-Star Game starting pitchers announcement, which took place in the network’s Caesars Club set.
Following the press conferences, MLB Network transitioned to its field set to deliver live, on-field coverage of batting practice. The network’s pre-Derby coverage also included an on-site edition of MLB Now — the first time the show has ever been broadcast outside of MLB Network’s Studio 3 — and Intentional Talk, followed by MLB Tonight at 6:00 p.m. ET. MLB Tonight debuted a new open for All Star, narrated by Long Island native Ed Burns.
MLB Network concluded its pre-Derby coverage with a concert by Pitbull, before racing against the clock to get the set off the field in time for the Derby to begin.
“We obviously don’t leave the set on the field during the [Derby]; we break it down, and Tom [Guidice, director of remote operations] has it down to a science,” explains Susan Stone, SVP, operations and engineering, MLB Network. “He can break down our set with our crew in six minutes and get it off the field, and we bring it back before our Tuesday presence. And Tuesday we also do a one-hour postgame show from the field.”
After the A’s Yoenis Cespedes was crowned champion of the Home Run Derby despite a valiant showing from Nationals phenom Bryce Harper (and his dad), MLB Network took to its centerfield set in section 140 for MLB Tonight: All-Star Edition.
Out in the compound, Game Creek Video’s Glory is handling the MLB Network’s Citi Field show on Monday and Tuesday.
“They provide all of our remote facilities now,” says Stone. “We used Glory for the [World Baseball Classic] and it worked out great for us. We’ve been using Justice in large for our Showcase game of the week. Game Creek is a great operation and we have enjoyed the collaboration.”
The All Stars Take Manhattan
Today, MLB Network takes to the streets of Manhattan for the MLB All-Star Red Carpet Show. With an 80,000-square-foot red carpet extending down 42nd Street, from Bryant Park (6th Avenue) to between Second and Third Avenues, the 2013 All Stars and their families will travel east in 2014 Chevrolet Silverado trucks.
To cover the parade, MLB Network will deploy – for the first time – a motorcycle RF, which will travel up and down 42nd Street; two roving RF cameras; two stationary RF cameras; and three hard cameras. CP Communications is handling RF frequency coordination from the roof of the HBO building, located on 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue, receiving all RF camera signals and muxing them down to Bryant Park.
Throughout the All-Star festivities on Monday and Tuesday, Aerial Video Systems is providing an A-Star helicopter with a gyro-stabilized Cineflex HD camera. The helicopter will fly over the parade route, providing MLB Network with an additional camera and bringing the total complement to nine.
Game Creek Video’s Justice will handle the parade from its location on the southern border of Bryant Park. The parade, which is broadcast live to tape, gets sent back to MLB Network’s headquarters in Secaucus, NJ.
“We consider Secaucus like our C and our D unit,” says Stone. “We have all of our edit and graphics facilities coming from Secaucus but they could just as easily be in a C or a D unit [on site]. We just can’t physically see them, but we have such great connectivity.”
MLB Network has four transmission paths from Bryant Park to Secaucus and 12 from Secaucus to Bryant Park. Six uncompressed fiber paths travel from HBO to Bryant Park, and another two originate from the Westin Hotel on 42nd Street, between Second and Third Avenues, where the parade ends.
“We have two points where we really can get access to the players,” says Mark Loomis, SVP, production, MLB Network. “We have Greg Amsinger and Harold Reynolds at Bryant Park talking to a lot of players before they get into the parade. Then the back end by the Westin hotel, Alanna Rizzo will be there to take people that we didn’t get, so we have a couple different interview positions. It’s just a neat way to see the fans of New York and the players interact on what would normally be a fairly busy street at 1 p.m. on a Tuesday afternoon.”
Bright Lights, Big Citi
MLB Network continues coverage at 4:00 p.m. ET, broadcasting its afternoon lineup — MLB Now, Intentional Talk, and MLB Tonight — against the backdrop of live batting practice at Citi Field. The programs will feature interviews and demos with players and coaches at they prepare for tonight’s game.
The network plans to turn around a half-hour version of the Red Carpet Show for 7:30 p.m., leading into Fox’s All-Star Game coverage. Following the final pitch, the network returns its on-field set for its MLB Tonight postgame show.
At Citi Field, MLB Network will have twelve cameras, including two cameras and a jib on the on-field set; two cameras on the secondary set in section 140; additional cameras located at high first, high third, center field, and high home; two roving RF cameras; and the aerial shot provided by the AVS helicopter.
No Rest for the Weary
After the curtain lowers on another midsummer classic, MLB Network’s job is far from over. Tomorrow, the network will take to the airwaves with an exclusive telecast of the 26th annual Triple-A All Star Game, live at 9:00 p.m. ET from Aces Ballpark in Reno, NV.
As the official broadcaster of Major League Baseball, MLB Network will rush headlong into the season’s second half, showcasing the Yankees and Red Sox on Friday night.
“We’ve got a group going out Tuesday to cover the [Triple-A] All-Star Game on Wednesday,” says Loomis, “and then here comes the second half on Friday.”