HTN Communications Provides Backhaul for MLB Network’s Ballpark Cam

HTN Communications has renewed its contract with the MLB Network to provide comprehensive fiber backhaul services for the network’s Emmy Award-nominated Ballpark Cam system. HTN has served as the fiber transmission provider for Ballpark Cam since MLB Network’s inception in 2009, and the new contract will extend the partnership for another three seasons and enable an extensive network upgrade.

“When we launched the Ballpark Cam system, our goal was to give baseball fans even greater behind-the-scenes access to players and a unique perspective on what goes on in the dugout and on the field,” said Susan Stone, senior vice president, operations and engineering, MLB Network. “Ballpark Cam is a huge success and a highly popular feature with our viewers, thanks in large part to the reliable and high-quality transmission services provided by HTN.”

Each of Major League Baseball’s 30 ballparks located throughout the U.S. and in Toronto, Canada are equipped with two Ballpark Cams, one installed just beyond the centerfield wall and the other located either next to or inside the first or third base dugouts. The cameras provide up-close video of players going through batting and fielding practice and other non-game activities, and offer interesting footage and interviews to supplement the MLB Network’s pre- and post-game programs and analysis.

“The Ballpark Cam system is one of the most innovative video applications in sports broadcasting today, and it’s been a privilege for HTN to provide the foundational transmission platform from day one,” said Joe Cohen, CEO, HTN Communications. “We’re looking forward to working with MLB Network over the next three years to help expand and enhance the system to support future growth and new services.”

In addition to providing point-to-multipoint live HD transmissions for every MLB game, HTN installed and manages the full-time private fiber network for the Ballpark Cam system. Going forward, HTN will upgrade the network to 1.48 Gbps HD-SDI local loops — delivering a tenfold increase in usable bandwidth over the original infrastructure. This will enable MLB Network to add additional cameras and services, and expand Ballpark Cam’s usage for high-profile MLB Jewel Events such as the All-Star Game, the Postseason and World Series.

“HTN has proven itself over the first three seasons to be the ideal transmission partner for the Ballpark Cam system. We’ve never had any major issues; in fact, the network has easily surpassed our rigid standards for availability and reliability for the duration of the first contract,” said Jacob Soto, senior engineering manager, MLB Network Ballpark Cam. “Ours is a large network with many moving parts, therefore, we are in constant communication with the HTN team and they truly understand the complexities of managing a network of this size. Their level of service is without parallel.”

“The Ballpark Cam system is a true success story for HTN and a textbook example of how a state-of-the-art fiber network can be effectively leveraged to deliver the optimal viewing experience for sports fans,” said Christian Kneuer, senior director of operations and client relations at HTN. “And now, with the expanded bandwidth provided by the network upgrade, MLB Network will be able to make the experience even richer and more exciting.”

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