There have been a lot of scattershot stories and tweets from various sources reporting who will be making up the broadcast team, studio analysts and other talent for Fox’s various baseball products airing during the season. Earlier today, Fox themselves released the key details for their MLB broadcasts to the press.
In a nutshell:
Joe Buck, Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci will be the “Lead Game Broadcast Team”; Ken Rosenthal and Erin Andrews will continue on as on-field reporters all season. Kenny Albert and Thom Brennaman will also take on play-by-play assignments during the season.
Kevin Burkhardt will host the new pregame show; Frank Thomas, Eric Karros, Gabe Kapler and C.J. Nitkowski will also join as analysts.
A new weeknightly show called “MLB WHIPAROUND” (all caps sic) will debut on FS1 starting on March 31, hosted by Chris Myers along with one or two of the analysts named above, and will feature “quick-turnaround highlights of in-progress games, news and analysis”.
The new TV deal the Dodgers signed with new pay-TV channel SportsNet LA may catch many fans unaware in that, starting this season, no longer will any of its games air on free TV.
KCAL-TV carried 49 games last year. This year, there will be none. All 162 games will be on the new channel. That’s good news for out of market fans who missed Vin Scully’s call on KCAL games that were not carried on MLB Extra Innings package in previous years, but it’s very bad news for the nearly 750,000 households in the nation’s #2 DMA who do not have any kind of pay-TV.
It’s not even all good news for all of the DMA’s pay-TV subscribers, either, as only Time Warner Cable and Bright House/Bakersfield even carry SportsNet LA. All other cities with competing systems are out of luck as of the moment.
As reported by Maury Brown in his Forbes column, MLB Advanced Media announced late last week that fans will be able to stream Fox’s broadcasts of the All Star Game and World Series games to their computers and mobile devices. This capability comes online per MLB’s new broadcast agreement with Fox that runs through 2021.
Previously, only TBS’s postseason broadcasts were available for viewing on such devices.
And the best part for fans is, they won’t have to pay extra for these games, as they have in previous years, as long as they already have MLB.tv for the year. Yay!
With the release of the baseball broadcast schedules by Fox for their broadcast network and nascent FS1 property, a counting of appearances by the various teams yields some unsurprising results (e.g., the Yankees lead all teams with 11 appearances; the Cardinals lead Senior Circuit teams with ten).
But not all results are unsurprises. Some are very surprising indeed, as you will see from this table shared with the world by the folks at Awful Announcing (click on the table to go to the article):
Some surprises include the Indians, Pirates and Nationals all outpulling the star-laden Dodgers; and the Mets, non-contenders though they may be but still occupying the nation’s #1 DMA last we checked, represented by a single telecast along with the A’s and the Marlins.
But the most surprising factoid gleaned from the schedule is that fully 16.67% of all major league teams will not be appearing on a single telecast on either the FS1 network or the Fox broadcast network. The absence of the Blue Jays from an American Broadcasting network can be rationalized, of course, and the Astros and Rockies expect to be various shades of awful and anonymous. But the White Sox? Even if they end up being a poor team, a complete whitewash of a #3 DMA major league ballclub is something of a surprise. And both Robinson Cano and Felix Hernandez will make no impact on the baseball ratings of national Fox telecasting entities at any point this season, as well.
Of course, in this world of baseball broadcast ubiquity via streaming and subscription packages, it’s not as though practically every game any of these five shut out teams play won’t be available in those forms anyway. But what kind of statement does it make for so many teams to be unrepresented in this way? It means either Fox puts so little stock in these franchises that they can’t risk broadcasting them at any point on their national networks, or perhaps it means that national or regional exposure on these networks means not much if not nothing anyway.
Following up on the heels of the announcement from the Springfield, MO Fox affiliate from a couple of days prior, MLB on Fox utilized their sister website to breathlessly announce their full MLB schedule for 2014.
According to the story:
FOX Sports, MLB’s primary broadcast rights holder since 1996 and exclusive national broadcast partner since 2001, will begin a new eight-year, multiplatform media rights agreement that adds national cable and digital coverage to its portfolio, doubling regular-season exposures, mostly on Saturdays, from 26 to 52 games combined on the FOX Broadcast Network and FOX Sports 1, with 20 Saturday doubleheaders, 10 exclusively on FOX Sports 1 and 10 split between FOX Sports 1 and the FOX Broadcast Network.
FS1 gets down to business right away with an April 5 tilt pitting the Twins and the Indians—not the most marquee of matchups, but it’s a start—followed immediately by Giants at Dodgers.
As you will see for yourself on the schedule in the story, there will be many regional broadcasts on Fox itself, so don’t forget to avail yourself of the keen maps over at 506 Sports to see what’s playing in your market.
Posted on the Awful Announcing, by way of KRBK, the Springfield MO Fox affiliate, the network has announced the date on which the Fox broadcast network
May 24th (primetime)
May 31st (primetime)
June 7th (primetime)
June 14th (primetime)
June 21st (primetime)
June 28th (primetime)
July 5th (primetime)
July 12th (primetime)
July 15th (Tuesday, All-Star Game at Target Field)
September 6th (early afternoon)
September 13th (early afternoon)
September 20th (early afternoon)
September 27th (early afternoon)
There will be no games before Memorial Day weekend, which probably isn’t surprising given that the first date will be safely out of sweeps’ way, but what’s notable here is the lack of day games during the summer, which have been a staple of weekend afternoons for some six decades. We do see Saturday early afternoon games during the heart of the pennant drive, although these games will run right into the teeth of the college football broadcasting juggernaut.