MLB Expanding Social Media Efforts Around All-Star Week; Fox Looks For Ratings Rebound
Tonight's MLB Home Run Derby and tomorrow's All-Star Game in N.Y. will again feature on-field tweeting and posting on Facebook from Derby participants and other All-Star players during the event, continuing an aggressive ASG social rollout now in its third year. The in-event player social media will closely follow last year's program in K.C., which introduced player tweeting and posting during the ASG once they left the game. But there will be two primary adjustments: a dedicated wireless hotspot has been established for players at Citi Field to avoid bandwidth issues and players competing with fans on the same access points, and the creation of two separate, temporary social media rooms at the ballpark. Last year in K.C., the particular layout of Kauffman Stadium prompted MLB to use one larger room for player social media use, and bisect it between the National League and American League. The social media rooms will again be modeled in part after the MLB Fan Cave and involve the league's creative services department. Last year's HR Derby and ASG combined to generate more than 1.6 million social media comments, according to data from Bluefin Labs. That company has since been purchased by Twitter, which will supply analytics to MLB for this year's ASG events (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer).
FOX HUNT: SI.com's Richard Deitsch writes Fox execs when it comes to the ASG "are rooting for one result: More eyeballs." Last year's "sleep-inducing 8-0 National League blowout was the lowest-rated and least-watched ASG on record, drawing an average of 10.9 million viewers and a 6.8 rating." Fox play-by-play announcer Joe Buck cited the "many young players in the game still unfamiliar to the audience -- a fair point -- and offered viewership might rise as the public becomes more familiar with players" such as Orioles 3B Manny Machado and Marlins P Jose Fernandez. Buck will "do a sit-down with Yankees closer Mariano Rivera at the start of the broadcast while analyst Tim McCarver, calling his record 22nd and final All-Star Game, will close the telecast with a feature on his favorite All-Star Game moments." Fox said that there will be "approximately 80 field and crowd microphones around Citi Field, including a ton of PZMs, or 'pressure zone microphones,' which are used to pick up the natural sounds of the game." Additional microphones will be "placed near the stands, dugouts and the bases and there will be 15-to-20 microphones available for managers, coaches, umpires and players to wear during the broadcast." Fox in a release said that it will "have 25 high-definition cameras for the ASG, including three Phantom Cams that shoot at 3,000-5,000 frames per second" (SI.com, 7/15).