SVG Study: MLB HD telecasts to top 3,000 this season

Major League Baseball fans will have more chances than ever to catch their favorites teams in HD as more than 3,000 MLB games will be telecast in HD via regional cable networks, local TV stations, and national networks. According to a survey of local TV stations and regional cable networks by the Sports Video Group (SVG), more than 51% of this year’s games are available in high definition. And for the first time ever all games on ESPN, TBS and Fox Sports will be in HD.

“Fans of Major League Baseball have more reasons than ever to purchase a high-definition TV set,” says Ken Kerschbaumer, SVG editorial director. “Regional coverage of MLB games on TV has been a tradition for more than 50 years and it’s easier than ever for fans to get the feeling they are in the ballpark thanks to the crystal-clear pictures and stunning audio of HDTV telecasts. And with both Fox Sports and ESPN committing to all-HD telecasts fans can get their HD fix all week long.”

Chicago White Sox fans are the big winners on the local level as 155 games of their 162 games will be available in HD via local cable and broadcast partners while Cleveland Indians fans are a close second with 153 local HD telecasts. And while the Chicago Cubs have not won a World Series in 100 years, their fans can at least claim victory in one category: the Cubs lead the NL with 151 HD telecasts, edging out the New York Mets (150) and the San Diego Padres (149). The Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals finished last in their respective leagues with only 40 HD telecasts each.

With all the HD broadcasts and games already posted, the American League finished first with 1,453 HD telecasts while 1,493 National League games will be in HD. On a division basis the American League Central will broadcast the most HD games while the National League East will broadcast the least number of games in HD.

“The biggest reason for the jump in HD telecasts is that there are now more HD production trucks than ever on the road,” says Kerschbaumer. “The challenge for most networks has been finding suitable HD production trucks when they are visiting another ballpark. Today finding those trucks is easier than ever.”

According to SVG, 44% of the production vehicles on the road this season are capable of producing HD telecasts, a 7% increase from last year.