Turner Sports Hits Ratings Jackpot With Yankees-Red Sox ALDS, Aims To Take Fans Inside the Rivalry
A new ‘four-corners’ look for PitchCast is planned for Yanks-Sox and Astros-Indians series
Of all the teams that advanced to the MLB Postseason this year, none lucked out quite as much as Turner Sports. The Yankees’ AL Wild Card Game victory over the A’s on Wednesday set up an ALDS faceoff with the archrival Red Sox, handing Turner what is sure to be a ratings bonanza. Although plenty of eyeballs are sure to be tuned into TBS’s coverage of arguably the greatest rivalry in U.S. sports, Turner Sports’ production team is keeping its eye on the ball by focusing on the storylines on the field for both Yanks-Sox and Astros-Indians.
“It’s one of the greatest rivalries in sports and one that we are thrilled to have the opportunity to cover,” says Steve Fiorello, VP/coordinating director, Turner Sports. “However, our approach remains the same: bring the fans closer to the action and cover the storylines that develop as the series unfolds. Turner Sports is all about access and bringing fans as close as possible to the sounds of the game, regardless of sport, and we’ll take advantage of every opportunity that we can, be it via base microphones, player access, etc.”
Storylines: Marquee Rivalry, 2016 vs. 2017 AL Champions
Of course, the first Yanks-Sox Postseason matchup since 2004 isn’t the only intriguing storyline playing out on TBS in the coming days. Fiorello and company will also be producing a second ALDS series featuring the past two AL pennant winners: the defending World Series Champion Astros and the Indians.
“This year, we are most excited about the matchups and the storylines that these teams, with their long rich histories, will present us,” says Fiorello “To be able to showcase Yankees vs. Red Sox and the last two AL pennant winners is a really exciting opportunity for us, and we plan to be on our game to give fans the best viewing experience possible.”
Turner’s Postseason has already begun with a bang. Wednesday’s AL Wild Card Game drew an average-minute audience of 6.4 million viewers across all platforms, up 51% over the 2016 AL Wild Card game and 45% over last year’s NL Wild Card game on TBS.
Use of Statcast, PitchCast Continues To Evolve
MLB Advanced Media’s Statcast (by Amazon Web Services) system, which debuted on TBS baseball in 2015 and PitchCast, which debuted last year, will continue to play a major role in TBS’s MLB Postseason coverage. Although the two platforms have become standard in Turner’s arsenal of production tools, the way they are used continues to evolve, including a new “four-corners” PitchCast look to be less obtrusive for fans.
“The [Statcast and PitchCast] technology has been available for some time now,” says Fiorello. “However, how it’s integrated into the production has certainly changed year-to-year. As the viewers get more comfortable with the technology, we push the envelope on how to present it on the screen. A few good examples of that are how we are using the pitch-track corners over the live pitch and presenting the pitch velocity in the same location where the pitch was delivered. The goal was to be more unobtrusive, and we think we’ve accomplished that.”
On-Field Mics, 20+ Cameras; Live-Streamed Batting Practice
TBS’s coverage will once again bring fans close to the sounds of the game with enhanced audio by embedding microphones on the field for every AL Postseason game (as Turner did last year as well).
Turner will deploy 20 cameras per game for the ALDS (including five high-speed systems) and 23 cameras for the ALCS (with six high-speeds).
NEP is once again providing the facilities for Turner’s MLB Postseason coverage, with SS25, SS18, TS2, and Chromium working the ALDS and SS25 and ND7 handling the ALCS.
In addition to its live-game telecasts on TBS (with simulcast streaming on TBS.com and the Watch TBS app), Turner Sports will live-stream non-game coverage on B/R Live, including live streams of each team’s batting practice ahead of every Postseason game televised by TBS.