Taking a page from the NFL's book, MLB is rolling out a channel entitled "Strike Zone" dedicated to whipping around to games in progress for live look-ins. The channel will immediately be available on DirecTV and Dish Network, as well as on certain affiliates of Time Warner and Bright House. Here's more from the MLB release:
When live game telecasts air on MLB Network, MLB Network Strike Zone will bring fans to every game across the league, with up-to-the-minute highlights, live look-ins and updates, all commercial-free.
“MLB Network Strike Zone will provide baseball fans with the award-winning coverage of all 30 clubs they’ve come to rely on from MLB Network,” said Tony Petitti, President and CEO of MLB Network. “We’re excited to continue to expand the reach and scope of MLB Network’s programming.”
The plan for the network seems questionable to me, and may undermine the MLB Tonight show on MLB Network, which is pretty much a four to six hour studio show that whips around to all games once a scoring play happens and provides analysis as well. The major difference with Strike Zone is that it is commercial-free, which provides an endless loop of baseball all night. Comparisons are already being made to the NFL's highly successful RedZone Channel, which rotates from game to game on Sundays to keep track of all the scoring action.
The channel will only be active on Tuesday and Friday to start off with, and expansions in the schedule are possible. Would the new channel be worth the investment with live look-ins on just two nights a week? It seems to be an ambitious project for MLB and one has to wonder if the network can really find a niche and a foothold with baseball fans.
What do you think, can the Strike Zone Channel thrive on a weekly basis and mirror the success of its NFL-inspired predecessor? Would you tune in on a regular basis, or would you stick with MLB Tonight and your own team's games?