NBC announced today that for the holiday weekend broadcast of MLB Sunday Leadoff on Peacock, there won’t be a traditional broadcast booth.
Of course, Peacock’s booth hasn’t really been traditional all year, with Jason Benetti calling games alongside a constantly rotating cast of analysts every week. But this will be non-traditional even by Peacock’s standards, with the booth getting the holiday weekend off in favor of what sounds like a very different approach to calling a game.
According to the release, the streaming broadcast of the Tigers and Royals in Detroit will feature a sort of roving tour of the stadium.
MLB Sunday Leadoff host and in-game reporter Ahmed Fareed, former Tigers outfielder and current Bally Sports Detroit analyst Craig Monroe, and NBC Sports’ Britney Eurton will take fans around Detroit’s Comerica Park throughout the game, providing viewers with a tour of the ballpark, unique viewpoints, conversations with special guests, and more.
“This is another way to take you out to the ball game and give the fans a unique experience,” said Sam Flood, NBC Sports Production Executive Producer & President. “We’re going to be fans of the game, taking you to different parts of the ballpark and engaging in a way that fans watch the game in the stadium.”
NBC promises the presentation will include a quasi-stadium tour, enhanced audio, unique camera positions, and conversations with guests and Detroit superfans.
It’s an interesting experiment, and it’s a solid place for it. It makes sense for streamers to take chances on a different presentation setup; Apple TV has done it as well, with some things working better than others. MLB’s sheer volume of games encourages experimentation like this; it’s the same reason late night shows end up experimenting in different ways. (There have been multiple broadcasts from the bleachers at Wrigley Field, for example.)
The downside, of course, is a potentially incoherent mess of a broadcast. As long as they find a balance between showing enough of the actual action but doing so in a different way, sure, it could be fun.
This experiment made me wonder about the potential for doing a game with a more traditional broadcast, but without announcers. Just pure, ambient crowd and stadium noise. Baseball would lend itself well to that (golf, too, especially if we could get player-caddie conversations in their entirety), as so much of the action is right in front of the viewer, and fairly self-explanatory. That’s not to say good broadcasters don’t add to the experience; it’s just the opposite, in fact. But having it as a push-button option would be fascinating.
If you’re curious how this will all come together, coverage begins at noon Eastern this Sunday, July 3rd.