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The channel's headquarters and studios are located at their leased facilities in Secaucus, New Jersey, a building owned by Hartz Mountain Industries which formerly housed MSNBC's studios. MLB Network's studios also house NHL Network, which came under the management of MLB Advanced Media in mid-2015 and transferred most operations from the network's former Toronto home base.
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Tony Petitti, former executive producer of CBS Sports, was named the network's first president. Petitti served as MLB Network's president until December 2014, when he was appointed as Chief Operating Officer of Major League Baseball. Rob McGlarry, who worked as Senior and later Executive Vice-president of Business Affairs at MLB Network since 2009, was named the network's second president.
Major League Baseball became the fourth major North American professional sports league to launch its own 24-hour cable network. NBA TV dates back to 1999, the NHL Network to 2001 (though not in the United States until 2007), and the NFL Network to 2003. However, MLB Network is carried in the most households of these four networks, as it is available on all of the top-ten video operators in the United States.
MLB Network soft-launched on December 16, 2008, with a rolling automated loop of archival programming and promotions for the network for cable systems that carried the network's transmissions leading up to the January 1, 2009 launch. The channel fully launched at 6:00 p.m. EST with the premiere of Hot Stove.
The network has signed contracts with numerous cable and satellite carriers, including DirecTV, Dish Network, Verizon Fios, Cablevision, Charter Communications, Comcast, Cox Communications, and AT&T Uverse. In a deal that was pioneered by other sports league owned channels, MLB tied carriage of the MLB Network to the ability to carry the popular out of market MLB Extra Innings package. In return, cable and satellite providers were offered a minority share of the new network.
The 720p high-definition simulcast of MLB Network launched simultaneously to the regular channel. After much discussion, MLB Network decided to use the 720p format instead of 1080-line-interlace because it believes 720p shows the motion of baseball more accurately and will degrade less when recompressed by cable operators to save bandwidth (most of the regional Fox Sports Networks use the same format). As Mark Haden (VP of engineering and IT of MLB Network) says: "That's our best shot of maintaining quality to viewers." All studio programs and original shows are shot in HD, as well as all self-produced games such as those of the 2009 World Baseball Classic and Thursday Night Baseball, as well as simulcasted locally produced games and contracted game packages it handles such as YouTube and Apple TV+'s Friday Night Baseball. The network also remastered 30 World Series films in high definition.
The channel also airs live and tape delayed spring training games, simulcasted from one of the team's local TV rightsholder's feed, or if not available, the spring training complex's internal scoreboard video feed with the team's radio network audio. These games are also subject to local blackouts.
The Secaucus-based studios have four main sets, three of which are named after hall of famers. "Studio 3", named in honor of Babe Ruth, serves as the home for the majority of the studio programs, while "Studio 42", honoring Jackie Robinson, is a half-scale baseball field where demonstrations by the network's analysts take place, along with interview programs where an audience is needed for atmosphere. Studio 42 is also the home of the early rounds of the Major League Baseball Draft. The studio includes seating for over 125 people, along with elements such as a functioning manual scoreboard and a standings wall for each league and division.
On November 12, 2012, MLB Network introduced a third set, "Studio K", for the new daily morning offseason show Hot Stove and guests analysts/insiders on High Heat. During the premiere episode, hosts Matt Vasgersian and Harold Reynolds said that the studio was constructed from the building's mailroom, explaining its small size. After Rose left the network in 2020 and Stephen Nelson was named the new co-host of Intentional Talk in 2021, Nelson co-hosts the show from Studio K. In 2020 and again in 2021, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, MLB Network Showcase games were called remotely from Studio K.
In 2015, the network introduced a fourth set, "Studio 21", named in honor of Roberto Clemente. The studio hosts the shows MLB Central, MLB Now, and Quick Pitch along with the presentation of the BBWAA Awards.
The network had planned to launch permanent studios from a new tower in Manhattan's Harlem neighborhood by 2011. However, because of the 2008 financial crisis, the building project was scaled back and later canceled in late November 2008, with MLB deciding on a permanent setup in Secaucus instead.
Diamond Sports Group, which owns 19 regional sports networks (RSNs), has ventured into bankruptcy, a predictable development that will nonetheless have a major impact on the way fans watch games and the way teams profit off them.
Diamond Sports Group's CEO, David Preschlack, who was hired in December, wrote in a statement last Tuesday that the company "will continue broadcasting games and connecting fans across the country with the sports and teams they love." MLB, in its own statement, wrote: "Despite Diamond's economic situation, there is every expectation that they will continue televising all games they are committed to during the bankruptcy process. Major League Baseball is ready to produce and distribute games to fans in their local markets in the event that Diamond or any other regional sports network is unable to do so as required by their agreement with our Clubs."
A league source, pointing to the rapid rate at which the traditional cable model is deteriorating, predicted that all 30 teams would fall under its umbrella within two to three years. But some league executives believe that highly profitable big-market teams such as the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, both of whom own their networks, would never agree to that type of structure. 041b061a72