Information Surrounding The New MLB Network Surfaces

Monday, July 21, 2008

The long rumored 24/7 all Baseball network is finally on the road to be a reality. The channel will be much like the NFL Network and will feature many similar elements including NFL Films-like shows and the airing of classic games. There are many challenges that MLB Network and its President and CEO, Tony Petitti faces but none bigger than a launch in the next 160 days. Via Sports Business Daily....

With such a small window before going live, there have been some industry whispers that MLB Network has too much to do in too short a time to have an effective debut.

Petitti, who has the channel's first couple of hours mapped out in his head, is aware of that. He offered the first glimpse at how the network, which will launch in about 50 million homes, will look when it premieres.

Initially, he plans to focus on studio programming, which will make up the bulk of the schedule, up to seven hours live a day during the season, starting at 5 p.m. ET, and two hours a day in the offseason.

The network also plans to pursue rights to non-MLB live programming such as the World Baseball Classic, Arizona Fall League, Caribbean World Series and the Cape Cod League.

"There's also midnight games in Alaska," said Petitti, referring to the Alaska Baseball League. "All that stuff is going to be talked about. We'll take pieces of all that hopefully and sprinkle it throughout the schedule."
All of that seems pretty amazing on the surface, and airing a variety of games and circuits is something that not many other leagues can do. Still the turn around time seems a little forced and the beginning product might not be the leagues best effort.

There's also an interesting list of talent that the MLB Network is looking at and at the top of the list is one Harold Reynolds....
Sources said that the network is considering bringing on former ESPN analyst
Harold Reynolds, but Petitti wouldn't comment on that directly. "We're
talking to a lot of people," he said.

Petitti said he's not necessarily looking for stars to fill out his on-air
lineup, saying he'd rather get people who know how to present on TV. He
didn't offer any specific baseball examples, but said he admired ESPN
college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit as somebody who "obviously has some
natural talent. But on top of that, he's on a lot of shows and gets a lot of
A Herbstreit comparison is interesting but definitely makes a lot of sense. You need someone with crossover appeal and someone like Herbie definitely falls into that category. I'm not sure who else the network has in mind but Reynolds is always a good place to start.

MLB Net sprints toward start (Sports Business Daily - Subscription)

Posted by Awful Announcing- at 4:43 PM


Man, some intelligent baseball talk. This should be great not having get my baseball fix from John Kruk and Steve Phillips.

Zabka said...
Jul 21, 2008, 5:37:00 PM  

Can you say if the article named any executive hires Petitti made? Thanks.

susan said...
Jul 21, 2008, 5:41:00 PM  

Here you go Susan....

"So far, he¹s hired Tony Santomauro from Donald Trump¹s Miss Universe as senior vice president of finance and administration; Chris Mallory from ABC/ESPN as creative director; Susan Stone from NFL Network as vice president of operations; Mark Haden from ABC as vice president of
engineering; Mary Beck from MLB as senior vice president of marketing; and Art Marquez from NFL Network as senior vice president of affiliate sales and marketing."

Jul 21, 2008, 5:47:00 PM  

Good stuff. I'm a baseball junkie and only a mild football fan, and I've never really appreciated the NFL Network like others do, so I think this will be right up my alley. MLB has done a great job the last few years with their online content, and hopefully this will be a further, even better extension of that effort.

I love that they want to feature programming like the Caribbean Series, Fall League, and Cape Cod, because those leagues are very important to those of us who are deep into following prospects and the draft.

I echo zabka's comments about getting intelligent baseball talk. I'd love to see them put together a broadcast team of intelligent former insiders, headed by Reynolds and featuring sharp former managers and GMs, not idiots like Phillips. I hope they also do some in-depth fantasy content like they do on the XM MLB Home Plate Channel, and also bring in some of the phenomenal Baseball America team to regularly talk about prospects and farm systems.

If they do it right, they could have me abandon ESPN totally, and for that I would be very thankful.

Anonymous said...
Jul 21, 2008, 5:57:00 PM  

I can see it now. MLB Gameday with your hosts, Stu Scott, Joe Morgan, and Tim McCarver.

Lammy742 said...
Jul 21, 2008, 7:19:00 PM  

Throw in some Hawai'i Winter League and I won't go crazy from November through March.

Anonymous said...
Jul 21, 2008, 9:41:00 PM  

Great. Add another channel I want that my local cable provider will refuse to carry.

Rick Rottman said...
Jul 22, 2008, 7:17:00 AM  

Rick, what provider do you have? DirecTV, Comcast and Dish Network have all said it will be on a normal basic lineup.

Also, hiring Harold Reynolds should be a no-brainer. He already works for MLB, and everyone likes him. He's not biased and would be great for the network. They must make that happen. If not, TBS could steal him.

Ted Hill said...
Jul 22, 2008, 10:08:00 AM  

Ted, I live in central Maryland and have Antietam Cable. It took a year just to get them to carry the Washington Nationals. I live in an apartment and cannot have a satellite dish.

Rick Rottman said...
Jul 22, 2008, 10:17:00 AM  

Time Warner makes a point to not add channels that their customers want (Big Ten Network, NFL Network, etc.)

GMoney said...
Jul 22, 2008, 10:44:00 AM  

does this mean this is the end of tbs's broadcasts soon....and the return of braves tbs baseball???

Anonymous said...
Jul 23, 2008, 1:09:00 AM  

aweful - any idea on how to find employment with the MLB Network?

Anonymous said...
Jul 24, 2008, 5:40:00 PM  

With CBS College Sports ending all if its studio shows there is a pool of talent there. Greg Amsinger and Adam Zuker will be looking for jobs. As well as most of their studio people. I can see Tony pulling from there because it would be easy for him too pull of such a quick launch with veteran talent.

Anonymous said...
Nov 9, 2008, 6:56:00 PM  

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