2014 World Series TV guide: The ins and outs of Fox's coverage
The alphabet soup of where to find postseason baseball games has thankfully come to an end. All the World Series games will air on Fox, with the first pitch of Game 1 between the Giants and Royals coming at 8:07 p.m. on Tuesday. Below, we offer a television viewing guide to the World Series.
What is the game schedule?
The first pitch for each game is scheduled for 8:07 p.m. Eastern Time. The games will be played as followed:
Tuesday Oct. 21: Game 1 at Kansas City.
Wednesday Oct. 22: Game 2 at Kansas City.
Friday Oct. 24: Game 3 at San Francisco.
Saturday Oct. 25: Game 4 at San Francisco.
Sunday Oct. 26: Game 5* at San Francisco.
Tuesday Oct. 28: Game 6* at Kansas City.
Wednesday Oct. 29: Game 7* at Kansas City
* if necessary
Who are the game broadcasters?
This will be 17th World Series call for play-by-play announcer Joe Buck. He’ll be joined by first-time World Series analysts Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci (who also works for Sports Illustrated). MLB Insider Ken Rosenthal will be assigned to the Royals dugout while Erin Andrews will be assigned to Giants.
What about the pregame?
Kevin Burkhardt anchors the pregame and postgame coverage with analysts Gabe Kapler and Frank Thomas. Fox has added Indians outfielder Nick Swisher to work the postseason with the group above. Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz will be part of the pregame and postgame coverage for Games 1 and 2 and there is a possibility Fox could extend Ortiz or bring in another current major leaguer for Game 3. Before Game 1, Royals Hall of Famer George Brett will narrate and appear on camera as part of a feature on the club.
Who are the key behind the scenes staffers?
The lead producer Pete Macheska and director Bill Webb are considered among the best in the business in production. Kent Camera and Bardia Shah-Rais will produce pregame and postgame.
What was the viewership last year?
The six-game series between the Red Sox and Cardinals averaged 14.9 million viewers, up 17 percent from 2012. The deciding Game 6 delivered 19.2 million viewers and was the highest rated baseball game since Game 7 of the 2011 World Series.
Will this year’s Series top it?
The only way that’s likely to happen is if the series goes seven games. The Royals are a great story but the Kansas City television market is small (No. 31 in the country) and San Francisco’s last two appearances in the World Series were the two least-watched during that time.
What kind of technology will be Fox be using?
The network said it uses 38 cameras on site as well as aerial cameras (a helicopter in Kansas City; a blimp in San Francisco), a Home Run tracker graphic, Hawk-Eye technology and 80 microphones around the stadium.
“This is hands down the most technically comprehensive World Series we have ever done,” said Fox Sports president Eric Shanks.
What about streaming video?
The World Series will be streamed live for the first time via Fox Sports Go, the app that provides live streaming video of Fox Sports content. The service is available for iOS, Android, Kindle Fire tablets and Fire phones, select Windows devices, including Surface Tablets, and on desktops through FoxSportsGo.com. You can download the mobile app for free from the iTunes App Store, Google Play, Amazon App Store and Windows Store. Fox Sports Go has two separate live streams of the World Series: the Fox Sports telecast in English and the Fox Deportes telecast in Spanish.
Who will call the series for Fox Deportes?
The booth consists of Jose Tolentino (play-by-play) and analysts Pablo Alsina and Duaner Sanchez.
Will Fox face any tough sports competition?
October is always loaded with events and Game 5 would go head-to-head against an NBC Sunday Night Football broadcast featuring the Packers and Saints. The night before, ESPN is airing No. 3 Ole Miss against No. 24 LSU while South Carolina also plays No. 5 Auburn that night on the SEC Network. The NBA season opens on Oct. 28 with TNT airing a doubleheader (Mavericks at Spurs and Rockets at Lakers).
“There’s a lot of competition when it comes to the fall and I’d be lying if I said I didn't look up at the monitor and track what else is going on,” Shanks said.
What’s a nice human interest story around this Series?
ESPN producer Maura Mandt is the executive producer behind an upcoming 30 for 30 short on Sung Woo Lee, the South Korean superfan of the Royals who watches every Kansas City game from his home country at 5 a.m. Mandt’s production company, Maggievision, sent filmmaker Josh Swade to South Korea to film and bring back Lee for the World Series. He’ll be in Kansas City for Game 1.
“The kid is so great and it’s amazing how much he loves the Royals,” Mandt said.
What were the ratings of the American League Championship Series?
The Cinderella run of the Royals helped TBS overcome two small television markets and a four-game sweep. The Royals-Orioles series averaged 5.071 million viewers over four games, up two percent over the network’s six-game NLCS series in 2013 between the Dodgers and Cardinals. Worth noting is Kansas City is the No. 31 TV market in the country, last among all A.L. teams with 923,000 households. Baltimore ranks No. 26, only slightly ahead of the Royals among AL teams.
How did Fox Sports 1 do with the NLCS?
Fox Sports 1 set a network viewership record with its coverage of Game 4 of the NCLS between the Giants and Cardinals. That game drew 5.092 million viewers, the most-watched program in Fox Sports 1 history and a mark likely to stand until next year. FS1’s coverage of Game 5 of the NLCS drew 4.891 million viewers, the second most-watched program ever on Fox Sports 1. The network’s top five most-watched shows are 2014 MLB postseason games.
Last year the New York Times was critical of how Andrews hosted the post-Series ceremony. How do Fox Sports executives judge success when it comes to the trophy presentation?
“One of the key things is emotion,” Shanks said. “The best trophy presentations are emotional, and afterward you hope the fans are still around and there is still a large amount of emotion happening whether it’s from ownership, management or the MVP. I think lately what we have been doing is grabbing as many post-game interviews as possible even before the trophy celebration so you do get that emotion coming straight off the field. What you like is something that’s real, emotional and awarding the fans.”
I’m one who believes that the role should go to either the broadcaster of the game (as TBS did with Ernie Johnson) or a broadcaster with deep reporting ties in the sport (Rosenthal or Verducci).
What’s up with the radio coverage?
ESPN Radio, which owns the rights to the postseason, has an excellent talent roster including play-by-play announcer Dan Shulman and analyst Aaron Boone. The pregame and postgame show consists of host Jon Sciambi, analyst Chris Singleton, ESPN MLB Insider Peter Pascarelli and in-studio host Marc Kestecher.