Dodgers Games To Be All-HD on Prime Ticket

By Ken Kerschbaumer

Prime Ticket viewers and fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers can expect a full plate of “Manny being Manny” coverage as the Dodgers begin their first full season with outfielder Manny Ramirez in the lineup. Last year, he propelled the Dodgers to the National League Championship Series, and Brad Zager, producer of Dodgers baseball, wants to keep that storyline going.

“Manny was unbelievable to work with,” says Zager. “We know that fans will be tuning in to watch Manny, and we’ll do things like use the FoxBox graphic to let fans know when he is coming up.”

This year also marks the first time that all of the Dodger Prime Ticket broadcasts will be produced in HD, roughly 30% more games than last year. “That is huge for the viewers,” says Zager, “and we’ve been working behind the scenes to get to this point.”

Seven cameras will be used for game coverage (the production team produces 100 games for Prime Ticket and 56 for KCAL Los Angeles), and Inertia Unlimited’s xMo super-slow-motion replay system will be located in centerfield for the fourth straight year. “It’s a great production tool that adds a new level to HD,” says Zager. “Even if we only use it once a homestand or series, it’s worth it because it captures something unique, like how a knuckleball travels or the compression on the baseball as it’s hit.”

Prime Ticket will also help the Dodgers mark two important personnel milestones: Vin Scully will broadcast Dodger home games for the 60th straight season, and Tommy Lasorda will celebrate his 60th year in the Dodger organization.

“Working with Vin is the most amazing thing. He is the most humble and truly professional person I’ve ever worked with in any aspect of my life,” says Zager. “He’s the greatest broadcaster, but he’s an even better person.”

From a programming standpoint, the pre-game show will continue to evolve and focus on personality rather than highlights. “If Russell Martin hits a home run, you can see it 75 times by the next game, if you’re looking to find it,” says Zager. “So we want to do more than just show what happened last night. We want to set people up for the game and show them players hanging out in the ballpark and the things MLB Network or other outlets won’t be able to show.”

The Dodgers’ April 13 home opener will also feature a special one-hour pre-game show designed to deliver all the pomp and circumstance to fans who can’t make it to the ballpark. “The whole season,” Zager observes, “is really a 162-part reality show, with something you’ve haven’t seen before every night.”

Opening
Day is less than a month away, and SVG is counting down to the first pitch with
a look at the regional sports networks responsible for producing games for all
30 Major League Baseball teams. SVG is stopping in with each RSN to detailing
the news and expectations leading up to the 2009 baseball season one conference
at a time. For the complete SVG 30 In 30 Index, click here.