24, Aug 2023
Reaching Global Audience: MLB’s Efforts and Cable TV Impact
Cable TV and Major League Baseball
In 2009, MLB launched its own cable network, MLB Network, which picked up a number of games each night. The games on this channel are non-exclusive and air in tandem with telecasts of the game by local broadcasters.
The NFL attracts more viewers than MLB does in the United Kingdom, even though the NFL is less popular in the country. This is partly because the MLB does not make enough efforts to reach out to its audience worldwide.
Major League Baseball is one of the world’s top professional sports leagues. It consists of 30 teams and is divided into the American League and the National League.
The league’s games are broadcast on television and over the internet, with the game of the year often generating huge ratings. For example, an estimated 103.4 million people watched the 2017 World Series between the Astros and Dodgers, which went seven games.
MLB has also played a role in shaping the emerging medium of cable television. Local affiliates and regional sports networks often carry televised MLB games, and some of these channels are part of larger chains like ESPN or Fox Sports.
In the United Kingdom, terrestrial channel BT Sport has been showing MLB games since it launched in 2013 and picked up the rights from ESPN UK. In addition, ESPN UK’s former sister network, NBCSN, simulcast a number of televised games. In addition to this, there are a number of independent regional broadcasters who carry MLB games.
The emergence of cable television has shaped baseball broadcasts, with networks such as WGN and TBS attracting viewers outside their local markets. In addition, MLB has its own cable channel, the MLB Network, which carries games throughout the season. Regional sports networks also air MLB telecasts. Viewers in a market that is not served by one of these national outlets are sent games of regional or divisional interest, with the exception of Saturday afternoon games, which are always broadcast nationally.
The demand for multilingual broadcasters in MLB is a reflection of the league’s global reach. Moreover, many MLB players are foreign-born, which makes the use of interpreters an important aspect of their job.
As an example, Felipe Ruiz, a Dominican Cubs fan, learned English from listening to Jim Deshaies and Len Kasper on WGN. He said that the clear diction of their broadcasts helped him understand the game better. Additionally, he learned new words and phrases from the commentary.
Baseball is a popular sport in the United States. It is a team game played between two opposing teams of nine players each. Each inning lasts for six minutes, and each team has three outs before they are forced to bat again. Some aspects of the field, such as the size of the pitcher’s mound and the distance between the bases, are standardized, but other dimensions vary from stadium to stadium.
MLB broadcasts its games on local television in the US and Canada, and on cable networks in other countries. Previously, the games were shown on CBS and Fox, but in 2009, MLB began producing its own national telecasts for its MLB Network.
Since 2013, BT Sport has had exclusive rights to MLB in the UK, broadcasting a number of games each week. This is in contrast to the NFL, which has never had its games broadcast on free-to-air television. The MLB also requires interpreters for its players, which helps them communicate with coaches and teammates and promotes comradery.
Major League Baseball broadcasts helped shape the emerging medium of cable television. In the late 20th Century, out-of-market games lured viewers to superstations like WGN and WTBS, which aired Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves games, respectively. ESPN also grew its subscriber base in the early 1990s with a nationally televised game every night of the week, and TBS has aired MLB games since 2007. In 2009, MLB itself launched an all-baseball cable channel called MLB Network to air several live games each week.
Regional cable channels also televise MLB games, and some teams own partial or majority stakes in their regional networks. National telecasts on ESPN, TBS, and MLB Network are non-exclusive, and may be shown in tandem with local broadcasters’ telecasts.
Many MLB players have international backgrounds. In 2023, MLB announced that 269 of the 945 players on opening day rosters were born outside the United States and spanned 19 different countries. These players require translators and interpreters to communicate with their coaches and other team members. For this reason, MLB has begun to employ a number of Spanish-language broadcasters for their TV and radio broadcasts.