Red Sox Nation heads to Tokyo via NESN

By Ken Kerschbaumer

Red Sox nation headed to Japan this week as New England Sports Network descended into Tokyo and worked with NHK to cover the opening game of the season between the Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics this morning. And while the debate over New England clam chowder vs, unagi rages on Mike Narracci, Red Sox Baseball senior coordinating director, says the experience has been great.

“We’re using NHK’s HTS-1 truck,” he says. “It has a Sony 8000 switcher, just like our home truck and facility in Watertown, MA. It also has EVS, HDCam decks and Sony cameras.”

NESN added four of its own cameras to the mix: a camera at low-first, tight center, high third and a booth camera. NESN also did its standard one-hour pre-game show.

NESN, like ESPN, added certain production elements back in the U.S. Chyron Duet graphics and promos were integrated in the Watertown facility. The scorebar, however, was inserted in Tokyo.

Genesis Networks provided transmission from Toyko to California where NESN’s regular transmission services provider, HTN, took over and got the 1080i signal to Watertown.

The biggest challenge? Dealing with some of the typical challenges Americans can face overseas: cellphones that don’t work and language barriers. But one thing doesn’t need translation: love of the game.

“The Japanese fans are very passionate,” says Narracci. “During the exhibition games they were chanting and singing while the Japanese team was at bat, but the place was eerily quiet while the American teams were at bat. When Dice-K takes the field, I’m sure it will be bedlam.”

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