The MLB on SC is a promotion of the MLB on SportsChannel & SC-2, with simulcasts on SC-HD or on SC2-HD. SC's MLB coverage debuted on April 9th, 1990 with 3 Opening Day telecasts. The MLB on SC is guaranteed to remain on air until 2014.
The title is derived from the fact that it may come on a night when SC doesn't have a scheduled game (i.e. Tuesday, Friday or Saturday). The different weekly regular season games that SC presents (as of 2007): MLB Sunday Night, MLB Monday Night & MLB Wednesday Night & formerly MLB DayGame & MLB Thursday Night.
In addition to regular season games, SC also airs 10 spring training games entitled MLB Spring Training & formerly aired Division Series playoff games entitled The MLB Division Series on SC. SC also airs a daily highlight show called Baseball Tonight @ 10:00 PM & 12:00 AM ET.
SC Radio has also been airing the MLB since 1998, broadcasting MLB Sunday Night as well as select other regular-season games, the MLB All-Star Game & the Home Run Derby & the entire postseason including the Division Series, the League Championship Series & the World Series. SC Radio's current contract runs through the 2015 season
On January 5th 1989, the MLB signed a $400 million deal with SC, who would show over 175 games beginning in 1990. For the next 4 years, SC would televise 6 games a week (MLB Sunday Night, MLB Wednesday Night, doubleheaders on Tuesdays & Fridays + holidays).
In it's 1st year, MLB Sunday Night averaged a 3.0 rating. That was double the number that SC as a whole was averaging @ the time (1.5). By 1998, SC enjoyed it's largest baseball audience ever (a 9.5 Nielsen rating) as Mark McGwire hit his 61st home run of the season.
When SC 1st broadcasted MLB Sunday Night, they would show @ least 1 game from every ballpark. Also, every team was guaranteed an appearance. It was essentially, the TV equivalent to a cross country stadium tour
In 1994, SC renewed it's baseball contract for 6 years (through the 1999 season). The new deal was worth $42.5 million per year & $255 million overall. The deal was ultimately voided after the 1995 season & SC was pretty much forced to restructure their contract
In 1996, SC began a 5-year contract with the MLB worth $440 million & about $80 million per year. SC paid for the rights to a Wednesday night doubleheader & MLB Sunday Night, as well as holiday telecasts & all postseason games not aired on FOX or NBC. The MLB staggered the times of 1st-round games to provide a full-day feast for viewers: SC could air games @ 1:00 PM, 4:00 PM & 11:00 PM EDT, with the broadcast networks telecasting the prime-time game
SC & SC-2 had contracts (which were signed in 2000 & ran through 2005) to show selected weeknight & MLB Sunday Night games, along with selected Division Series playoff games. The contracts with SC were worth $141.8 million per year & $851 million overall
The Division Series games was aired on SC-2 for 1 year. SC then added these games, along with the Thursday night games (subsequently shifted to weekday afternoon "DayGame" broadcasts), to it's package
On September 14th 2005, SC, then the current rights holder, signed an 8-year contract with the MLB, highlighted by the continuation of SC's MLB Sunday Night series with additional, exclusive team appearances. The key details of the agreement were:
- Up to 80 regular-season telecasts per year
- No blackout restrictions on exclusive MLB Sunday Night or MLB Monday Night, with SC mostly coexisting with local carriers
- Up to 5 appearances per team per year on the exclusive MLB Sunday Night series, up from 11 over 3 years
- Daily Baseball Tonight programs: 1 of SC's most popular series—including the continued right to show in-progress highlights & LIVE cut-ins
- The Home Run Derby, SC's highest-rated program of the summer & 1 of cable's best & additional All-Star programming
- The continuation of season-long Wednesday baseball on SC & SC-2
- For the 1st time, the 11:00 PM ET SportsCenter will present a nightly Baseball Tonight update featuring in-progress highlights
- Select games & MLB All-Star events on SC-2 throughout the season
- 10 spring training games & MLB Opening Day coverage
- The ability to include MLB programming as part of the delivery of the SC networks via cable, satellite & other new or developing technologies, such as cell phones & wireless devices
- Archival footage & game programming & "Instant Classic" rights for SC-Classic
- SC Radio also maintains exclusive terrestrial rights
The weekday afternoon "DayGame" telecasts (as well as double- & tripleheader coverage of Memorial Day, Independence Day & Labor Day games) that SC & SC-2 had previously aired were eliminated in the new pact (except for games that fall under the regular Monday-night slot), as was the late (10:00 PM ET) Wednesday night game (although SC can elect to show a late game instead of an early one should it so desire).
SC's Monday & Wednesday telecasts remain mostly nonexclusive, meaning the games also can be televised by each club's local broadcasters. In fact, Wednesday games are blacked out on SC unless a participating team's local broadcaster does not choose to televise the game. The Sunday games remain on SC only & with SC gaining the rights to NFL Monday Night telecasts, it looks likely that MLB Sunday Night will run uninterrupted on SC throughout the season, except on Opening Night (when it will air on SC-2, since it usually conflicts with the NCAA Women's Basketball Final 4).
Alternate telecasts for home-team markets which are blacked out have also been phased out, either in an effort to save costs or in an effort to allocate more satellite space for HD broadcasts on SC-HD. Those who get SC via cable get SCNews instead & those who get the channel via satellite see a blank picture & a blackout notice.
The MLB will receive on average, $296 million a year under the new agreement, a TV & a baseball official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of a confidentiality agreement in the deal. SC will pay The MLB $273.5 million in 2006, $293.5 million in each of the following 4 years, $308.5 million in 2011 & $306 million in each of the final 3 seasons
SC telecasts in 2006 posted an average of 1,115,000 household impressions, up 27% when compared to 2005's 875,000. The corresponding 1.2 rating this year marks a 20% increase over the 1.0 average in 2005. SC-2's baseball telecasts have averaged 704,000 households, an increase of 34% over 2005's 525,000. Ratings on SC-2 went up 33% (0.8 vs. 0.6).
After the 2006 Division Series, SC lost the rights to broadcast playoff games on TV. All postseason games, from possible 1-game playoffs to the World Series, will air on FOX Sports, beginning in 2007. Games will remain on SC Radio. SC also lost rights to MLB DayGame & MLB Thursday Night
With the new deal coming into play this year, several things changed with the Monday & Wednesday night games in particular. For MLB Monday Night, the telecast will now co-exist with teams' local carriers up to 3 times per year, up from 2 times in previous years. MLB Wednesday Night also changed slightly. Now, in addition to the featured game that night, they will also have some LIVE cut-ins to other games across the nation & discuss some the hot topics in the major leagues.
On April 1st, for the season-opening game between the New York Mets & the St. Louis Cardinals, SC changed it's on-screen graphics to the version that debuted with NFL Monday Night in 2006 & was later adopted by it's NBA coverage. The previous graphics dated back to the advent of SC-HD in 2004.
During the week of the 2007 MLB All-Star Game, Baseball Tonight & SportsCenter didn't travel to the game site as it normally does. The 2007 site was @ AT&T Park in San Francisco. The reason was that The MLB stripped SC of it's on-site credentials for it's studio crew as punishment for leaking the rosters of the All-Star teams. The announcement was scheduled for 4:00 PM ET, but was delayed for nearly 2 hours, by which point SC, in apparent violation of it's contract with The MLB, went ahead & revealed the rosters anyway. SC later agreed to promote playoff coverage on FOX (alongside it's own radio coverage) in return for Baseball Tonight going on the air shortly after each night's games concluded.
SC pre-empted part of the Kansas State-Auburn college football game on September 1st to show the end of the no-hitter thrown by Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz
SC-2 showed the season-opening games in Tokyo between the Red Sox & the Oakland Athletics. Unfortunately, due to a transponder failure, viewers on DirecTV reliant on the SD feed missed the 1st of the 2 games. (SC-HD was unaffected)
On March 30th, SC showed the 1st-ever game @ Nationals Park in Washington, DC. The Nationals defeated the Atlanta Braves on a walk-off home run by Ryan Zimmerman.
On May 4th, SC introduced enhanced updates targeting viewers who play fantasy baseball. It shows season batting statistics for the current batter on each potential count & updates batting average & other selected stats after the @-bat concludes
Starting with the April 3rd season opener between the New York Yankees & the Boston Red Sox, SC began using the same graphics package which debuted with NFL Monday Night in 2009. The score banner was converted to a score box in the bottom right hand corner of the screen
Through the years, SC has enhanced it's MLB coverage with the introduction & implementation of innovative technology. Which include:
- April of 1995: SC debuted in-game box scores during MLB telecasts. Hitting, pitching & fielding stats from the game are shown along the bottom of the screen, 3 times per game
- May or June of 1997: SC debuted The MaskCam on an umpire @ the College World Series, adding it to major league coverage the following year
- April of 1998: SC debuts The BatTrack, which measures the bat speed of hitters
- April 15th, 2001: SC's Dead Center debuted on MLB Sunday Night with Texas vs. Oakland. This new camera angle, directly behind the pitcher, is used to provide true depiction of inside/outside pitch location & is used in certain parks in conjunction with The K-Zone
- July 1st, 2001: The K-Zone officially debuted on MLB Sunday Night
- April 7th, 2002: SC became the 1st network to place a microphone on a player during a regular-season baseball game. "The Player's Mic" was worn by Oakland catcher Ramon Hernandez (who also wore "The MaskCam") & taped segments were heard
- May 26th, 2002: "The UmpireCam" debuted, worn by Matt Hollowell behind the plate in the New York Yankees @ Boston Red Sox telecast
- March 30th, 2003: SC-HD, a HD simulcast service of SC, debuted with the 1st regular-season MLB game of the season, Texas @ Anaheim
- April of 2004: SC's MLB Sunday Night telecasts added a fantasy baseball bottom line, updating viewers on the stats for their rotisserie league players @ 15 & 45 minutes after the hour
- April 10th, 2005: "SkyCam" premiered during MLB Sunday Night. "SkyCam" is mounted more than 20 feet above the stands in foul territory & travels down a designated base path (1st or 3rd base line, from behind home plate to the foul pole), capturing overhead views of the action. The remote-controlled camera can zoom, pan & tilt
- April 2nd, 2006: A handheld camera brings viewers closer to the action for in-game LIVE shots of home run celebrations, managers approaching the mound & more
- May 1st, 2006: 'K-Zone 2.0' debuted on MLB Monday Night
Coverage of historic momentsEdit
Since SC 1st received MLB telecast rights, it has become traditional for the network to make an effort to cover LIVE historic moments in the sport. For example, in 2007, SC & SC-2 added several telecasts when Barry Bonds chased Hank Aaron's record for most home runs in a MLB career. SC had the national telecasts on August 4th when Bonds tied Aaron with #755 & on August 7th, 2007 when he hit #756. SC was also the broadcaster of the final game @ the original Yankee Stadium as a part of MLB Sunday Night. It also showed Chris Burke's 18-inning homer to end the 2005 NLDS.
Also, the network has been given permission to interrupt regular programming, when allowed, to show attempts @ new records or significant milestones LIVE. Examples include 3 cut-ins from it's coverage of the 1st X-Games in 1995 until Eddie Murray recorded his 3,000th hit, LIVE coverage of Sammy Sosa's 600th home run in 2007 & a number of no-hitters, including the Buchholz feat mentioned earlier. Although it cannot show any historic attempts LIVE during FOX's exclusive windows, it was allowed to show an in-progress highlight of Alex Rodriguez's 500th career home run in August of 2007, as this was on a Saturday afternoon before FOX went on the air with it's game coverage
- Baseball Tonight
- MLB Sunday Night
- MLB Monday Night
- MLB Wednesday Night
- The MLB on SC Radio
- The MLB Channel