NESN Teams With NCP To Keep Red Sox In HD
By Carolyn Braff
For the fourth consecutive year, the New England Sports Network (NESN) will broadcast all Boston Red Sox games in high definition, but the big news in Beantown this season is a new mobile provider supporting all of those HD productions. A longstanding relationship with mobile truck provider NMT ends this season as NESN’s mobile facilities contract was sold to NCP, effective March 2009.
“As saddened as I am by the fact that I will not be working with my longtime friends and associates from NMT any longer, I am equally excited about working with Mike Werteen and NCP,” explains Michael Narracci, senior coordinating director of Red Sox baseball for NESN. “Their reputation is exceptional and I think we will be a great team for years to come.”
NCP is no stranger to baseball coverage, as the company provides facilities for other regional sports networks” including MASN” and baseball shows” including ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball” so Narracci is anticipating a seamless transition from one mobile provider to the next. Aiding in that transition will be the fact that NESN’s home truck will remain the same, pending a new paint job.
“Our home truck, NMT HD 6, is going to be renamed NCP 12 as part of the deal, so for our home broadcasts there will be no change of facilities,” Narracci explains. “Road facilities will be different, but we’ve worked in a couple of NCP trucks on the road as substitute trucks, so we are familiar with them. I’ve come across NCP trucks over the years and they are well-maintained and well-engineered. After the first day in their trucks it will be like old times.”
NESN will produce all Red Sox games, pre-game, and post-game shows” both home and away” in high definition for the fourth consecutive season, and will add 5.1 audio at home for the second year running. Select road games will also be produced in 5.1 surround sound this season.
Several graphical changes this season will make all of NESN’s broadcasts pop. The Pitch Zone graphic, provided by SportVision and MLB Advanced Media, is slightly wider this season, incorporating a home plate and batter’s box lines within the graphic.
“It gives the viewer a little bit more relativity as to where the pitch actually was,” Narracci explains.
NESN’s SportMedia-provided score bar will have a new color scheme for this season that Narracci says makes it more readable and less intrusive.
“Another thing we’ve tweaked is at home at Fenway, we’re returning with a robotic dead-center center field camera,” Narracci says, noting that at the end of last season, the production team began experimenting with cameras, lenses and pan/tilt/zoom settings to find a new look for game-day productions.
“We finally found a combination of the three [camera, lens, pan/tilt/zoom] that we liked and we’ll be bringing that back,” Narracci says. “We really like the dead-center look; it gives you a very good look at left-to-right movement on the ball.”
As for other technological add-ins Red Sox fans can look forward to this season, NESN is exploring other gadgets, but Narracci is wary of adding in technology just for technology’s sake.
“We always want to stay on the cutting edge of technology without becoming too intrusive into the broadcast,” Narracci explains. “We’re looking to do something new but we want it to be the right technology. We don’t want to use it just because it’s available.”
Opening Day is less than a month away, and SVG is counting down to the first pitch with a look at the regional sports networks responsible for producing games for all 30 Major League Baseball teams. SVG is stopping in with each RSN to detailing the news and expectations leading up to the 2009 baseball season one conference at a time. For the complete SVG 30 In 30 Index, click here.