Major League Baseball is a professional baseball organization and the oldest professional sports league in the world. MLB consists of a total of 30 teams, split evenly between the National League and the American League, with 29 in the United States and 1 in Canada.
MLB Network is an American television sports channel dedicated to baseball. It is primarily owned by Major League Baseball, minority owned by Warner Bros. Discovery through its sports unit, Comcast’s NBC Sports Group, Charter Communications and Cox Communications.
The channel’s headquarters and studios are located in leased facilities in Secaucus, New Jersey, a building owned by Hartz Mountain Industries that previously housed MSNBC’s studios. MLB Network’s studios also include NHL Network, which was folded into MLB Advanced Media in mid-2015 and moved most operations from the network’s former home base of Toronto.
Former CBS Sports executive producer Tony Pettitte was named the network’s first president. Pettitte served as president of MLB Network until December 2014, when he was named chief operating officer of Major League Baseball. Rob McGarry, who served as senior vice president and then executive of business affairs for MLB Network since 2009, was named the network’s second president.
As of February 2015, MLB Network is available to approximately 69,991,000 pay television households (60.1% of pay television subscribers) in the United States.
Major League Baseball became the fourth major North American professional sports league to launch its own 24-hour cable network. NBA TV dates from 1999, NHL Network from 2001 (although not in the US until 2007), and NFL Network from 2003. Among the top ten video operators in the US.
MLB Network soft launched on December 16, 2008, with a continuous automatic cycle of archival programming and promotions for the network to cable systems that carried the network’s broadcasts until its launch on January 1, 2009. The channel it was fully launched at 6:00 p.m. EST with the premiere of Hot Stove.
In April 2012, MLB Network’s standard definition feed switched to a 16:9 letterbox format. The network’s SD and HD feeds now display the same format.
On April 4, 2016, MLB Network introduced a new on-air graphics package optimized for the 16:9 format, replacing the previous on-air format used since the network’s launch on New Year’s Day 2009.
At the time of launch, no announcement was made about the availability of MLB Network in Canada, home of the Toronto Blue Jays. Network officials had been in contact with Blue Jays owner Rogers Communications (owner of Rogers Cable, Canada’s largest cable provider) about making MLB Network available in Canada, but prior to the channel’s launch they emphasized that there was no imminent agreement.
In August 2008, Rogers received approval from the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for a Canadian digital channel tentatively named “Baseball TV”. The license could have been used to launch a local version of MLB Network with local advertising and additional Canadian content, along the lines of NBA TV Canada, which is owned by the Toronto Raptors’ parent company but carries most of the league’s content. . American channel NBA TV. It was initially reported that Rodgers intended to take this approach to bring the MLB Network to Canada. However, the license was issued on the condition that the channel be launched in August 2011, which did not happen.
Rogers ultimately agreed to sponsor MLB Network’s application to be added to the CRTC’s list of approved foreign television services, which would allow Canadian cable and satellite providers to import American broadcasts, as has happened before with certain sports services like Big Ten. Network. , NFL Network and Golf Channel. The application was posted for public comment on June 13, 2012, and was approved on November 21, 2012. Meanwhile, Rodgers-owned Sports net One carried select MLB Network shows, including Quick Pitch and Intentional Talk.
MLB Network was added to Rogers Cable Systems in Ontario on January 8, 2014, in both standard and high definition. On June 3, 2015, SaskTel announced that it would begin offering MLB Network. As of 2017, it is also available on MTS and Vidéotron.
On March 23, 2017, MLB Network launched on Bell Fibe TV and Bell Satellite TV.
Shaw Cable, the dominant carrier in Western Canada, does not offer MLB Network. Mediacom also does not offer MLB Network. As of 2018, MLB Network airs nationally on the DAZN streaming service in Canada.