MLB Network Sets New Pace for Its All-Star Coverage

MLB Network continues to expand and refine its presence at the MLB All-Star Game. This year, it’s not only handling programming for its own network but also contributing a segment to tonight’s All-Star pregame show on Fox.

“We’re doing a segment in the B block of the show,” says Susan Stone, SVP of operations and engineering, MLB Network, adding that “it has been a very productive working relationship.”

MLB Network is calling NEP ND4 home within the broadcast compound, a hub that pulls in signals from two sets inside Kauffman Stadium as well as from the press conferences held at nearby Arrowhead Stadium.

The two sets at Kauffman Stadium include a primary desk located on the field near third base, a position that gives the talent and crew more shade, an important consideration given the heat wave that has engulfed the Midwest. The set will also pull double duty during tonight’s pregame coverage, when Fox Sports will use it for a live hit about 20 minutes prior to first pitch, shortening the amount of time available to get the set off the field by about 15 minutes.

“Usually, we can get that set off in seven minutes,” says Tom Guidice, director of remote operations, MLB Network, “but there is going to need to be a little more coordination.”

The second set is located in the Rivals restaurant behind leftfield. That position is usually set aside for Fox Sports Midwest for its pregame coverage of Kansas City Royals games, but MLB Network brought in a small stage, set, two cameras, and lighting to be used after the on-the-field set is struck.

MLB Network also plays a big part in coverage of the press conferences at Arrowhead Stadium, located right next to Kauffman Stadium and the broadcast compound. The press conferences are traditionally held at the players’ hotel, so the move to the stadium makes technical setup much easier for the network. But, despite the close location, a satellite truck needs to be used because the route for a fiber run to the broadcast compound proved impractical.

The STS satellite truck that will be used for the press conferences will also be used for MLB Network’s coverage of the All-Star Parade alongside NEP SS22 and a Filmwerks generator.

“That’s a first for us, and it’s a challenge because we don’t do graphics on-site,” adds Stone. “But the wonderful thing is, the city could not have been more cooperative and accommodating.” This year’s parade, talking place in the Country Club area of downtown Kansas City, will be covered live to tape using eight cameras plus the blimp.

“It’s a good rehearsal for next year,” says Guidice. The 2013 parade in New York City is expected to be in Manhattan rather than in Queens, the location of Citi Field, where the game will be played.