MLB Network jumps into postseason game coverage today with its presentation of the St. Louis Cardinals-Pittsburgh contest.
Bob Costas, Jim Kaat and Sam Ryan will be on the call of Game 2 of the National League Division Series in which the Pirates will try to square matters at Busch Stadium at 1 p.m. (ET). The telecast will be available across the country exclusively on MLB Network, which counts some 71 million subscribers, including in the Pittsburgh and St. Louis DMAs.
MLB Network will exclusively televise a second LDS game on Monday, Oct. 7.
Last season, MLB Network televised its first exclusive postseason games: Game 2 of the ALDS between the Detroit Tigers and Oakland A’s, and Game 3 of the NLDS between the Cardinals and Washington Nationals. The A’s-Tigers game – first pitch came on a Sunday at noon – connected on a 1.3 coverage rating and 1.26 million viewers, making it the most-watched and highest-rated game in the service’s history. The Cards-Nats game, airing on a Wednesday at 1 p.m., stands as MLB Network’s second-most watched game ever with a 1.25 coverage rating and 1.09 million viewers.
MLB Network enters the postseason coming off its strongest regular season to date. MLB averaged 239,000 viewers for its game coverage during the 2013 campaign, up 9% from the prior year. Flagship program MLB Tonight improved 29% to a 132,000 average audience.
The third quarter of 2013 was MLB Network’s most-watched quarter ever, scoring with 205,000 primetime viewers on average, up 26% from third-quarter of 2012.
The service will supplement its on-air postseason roster for MLB Tonight with a quartet of current MLB players, and Chicago White Sox broadcaster Ken Harrelson, a candidate for the for the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s 2014 Ford C. Frick Award. The Hawk will be the first guest analyst to visit Studio 3, with a two-night stint on the Emmy Award-winning show, starting on Oct. 4.
Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones will make his guest analyst debut during the LDS on Oct. 6 and 7. Jones will be followed by New York Yankees first baseman Mark Texeira on Oct. 8 and 9 and Toronto Blue Jays infielder Mark DeRosa on Oct. 10 and 11.
Seattle Mariners outfielder Raul Ibanez, a five-time postseason performer, will serve as guest analyst during the League Championship Series on Oct. 15 and 16.
MLB Tonight presented by Bacardi Oakheart will air before and after every postseason game with reporters including Kristina Akra, Alanna Rizzo, Ken Rosenthal, Heidi Watney and Ryan on-site at each ballpark.