Time Warner Cable in Albany, N.Y., will show its customers some love on Sunday July 11, inviting them to watch the Single-A Jamestown Jammers play the local Tri-City Valley Cats game in Troy, N.Y., for free.
The MSO's subscribers will also get a chance glimpse TV's future by watching the New York Yankees-Seattle Mariners pioneering 3D telecast of Major League Baseball.
Looking to give back to its sub base and demonstrate some of its advanced products, Time Warner Cable Albany purchased all of the ducats and then invited customers to bring in their bill to service center, where they received a free family four-pack, including tickets and voucher for free hot dog and soda.
It was a promotional home run as more than 6,000 people redeemed their bill for tickets, including standing-room ones to check out the Cats, the Houston Astros' affiliate.
Meanwhile, YES's 3D coverage of the Yankees-Mariners is a coincedental bonus, so to speak.
Looking to bolster and offset some of its costs for its event at the ballpark, Time Warner Cable reached out to Samsung and YES about how they might want to participate in the subscriber event. The conversation quickly turned to the Yankees-Mariners 3D telecast on July 11 as a showcase for the nascent format. On July 10, YES and Fox Sports Northwest were scheduled to present the first MLB game in 3D with their telecasts of the middle contest of the set between the clubs at Safeco Field in Seattle.
The Samsung/YES 3D Experience area on July 11 will feature couches, a large screen TV and a slew of "active" 3D glasses. With up to 100 employees, sporting "cable guy and cable girl" jerseys on hand, TWC's team expects to move a lot of people through the area, giving them a chance to watch part of the game in the enhanced format. The Yankees-Mariners game begins at 4:10 p.m. (ET), while the first pitch of the Cats' contest is scheduled for 5 p.m.
"Time Warner Cable's Customer Appreciation Night provides us the perfect opportunity to enjoy a day at the ballpark with more than 6,000 of our customers and say ‘thank you,' " said Time Warner Cable Albany vice president of operations John Quigley. "We have wonderful partners for this event and once we learned about the July 11th 3D Yankee game, we knew Samsung and YES would help us make a full 3D experience come to life for our guests."
Baseball in the field and in 3D are just part of the activities at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium on Sunday. TWC will erect "Ask the Cable Guy/Ask the Cable Girl" stations, where customers can have any of their service and billing queries answered, throughout the ballpark. There will also be product demonstration areas, recruiting stations, prize wheels and a RoadRunner mascot (the MSO's high-speed service) doling out goodies to the kids. Employees will toss out trinkets to fans in the stands and anchors and talent from local news outlet YNN are scheduled to appear.
Moreover, a 30-foot inflatable RoadRunner balloon will be stationed beyond the outfield. An interactive weather wall a Movie On Demand bus, plus displays from HBO, Starz and In Demand are also on tap, according to TWC officials.
In addition to Time Warner Cable, YES's 3D telecasts on July 10-11 will also be carried by seven other distributors, DirecTV, Verizon FiOS, Blue Ridge Communications, Comcast, Cablevision, Service Electric Broadband Cable and Cox in the Yankees TV territory of New York, Connecticut and parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
For their part, Cox's customers in Connecticut without 3D-capable TVs are being afforded the opportunity to watch the games at Best Buy outlets in Manchester and Meriden.
FS Northwest officials said Comcast would carry the 3D versions of the games throughout the state of Washington, while Time Warner Cable will make them available in the eastern part of the state. At press time a spokeswoman said the RSN, which is owned by DirecTV, continues to talk with other carriers about picking up the 3D ballgames.
As mentioned, the contests mark the first time MLB games will be presented in 3D. They will also serve as prelude of sorts to Fox's 3D coverage of MLB's All-Star Game in the format on July 13.
Presented by Panasonic and DirecTV, the Yankees-Mariners games will air sans commercials. Between innings, YES's telecasts will feature taped segments about the Bronx Bombers, while the announcers -- FS NW's Mariners play-by-play man and National Baseball Hall of Famer Dave Niehaus, Mariners voice Dave Sims and YES's Ken Singleton -- will supply extra analysis, commentary and take viewers around the action in the big leagues.
On Sunday, the 3D telecast is also expected to go interactive, with the announce team fielding questions from an audience of YES clients and executives attending a 3D game screening in Manhattan.
YES and FSN Northwest will also produce traditional HD telecasts of both games.
Senior vice president of affiliate sales and marketing Matt Cacciato said YES began working with distributors' engineers about a month ago to make sure things were in place from a technical standpoint.
He said promotional plays -- YES developed customizable, 30-second promos for its affiliates and a number of different sized banner ads for their Web sites -- began running in the middle of last week.
YES will take stock from this production and operational experiment, while gaining feedback from affiliates about the telecasts' 3D performance and look, as well as viewer experiences.
The RSN has hired 3D specialist PACE and NEP's SS31 (formerly SS3D) 3D mobile truck, the same setup used by ESPN to produce coverage of The Masters this spring. PACE CEO Vince Pace will be in the truck serving as 3D stereographer.
Many from that crew will be make the trek down the coast for Fox and DirecTV's presentation of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game on July 13, which will air on the DBS leader's rookie n3D service.
The cameras will be placed in traditional baseball camera positions: "low-first" base, low-third, high-home and center-field. In addition, there will be a low-home, a position that isn't available in that many stadiums, and one that could capture plays at the plate and better inform viewers of the competition between the pitcher and batter.
As such, Time Warner Cable customers no doubt will get a little more than they expected in going out to the ballgame on Sunday.