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Mariners game broadcasts adapt to COVID-19

710 ESPN Radio & ROOT SPORTS prepare for unique challenges of season
July 23, 2020

Seattle Mariners broadcast partners 710 ESPN Seattle and ROOT SPORTS are preparing for a season unlike any other with the goal of presenting games on radio and TV in a way that will be familiar to listeners and viewers. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, broadcasts of all Mariners 2020 regular season

Seattle Mariners broadcast partners 710 ESPN Seattle and ROOT SPORTS are preparing for a season unlike any other with the goal of presenting games on radio and TV in a way that will be familiar to listeners and viewers.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, broadcasts of all Mariners 2020 regular season games, home and road, will originate from T-Mobile Park and the ROOT SPORTS Bellevue studio.

On the Radio

When the Mariners meet the Astros on July 24 in Houston, play-by-play announcers Rick Rizzs and Aaron Goldsmith and Producer/Engineer Gary Hill will be in their usual T-Mobile Park “home” radio booth, which has been outfitted with acrylic partitions and appropriately spaced workstations. Reporter Shannon Drayer will contribute pregame, in-game and postgame reports from a separate radio booth.

ROOT SPORTS

On the TV side, broadcasters Dave Sims and Mike Blowers will each be in separate booths, along with a “stage manager,” who coordinates with the broadcast producer. Like the radio booths, acrylic partitions have been installed in the TV booths. The announcers will be able to see their broadcast partner at all times on monitors, and fixed cameras looking into each booth will make it possible to show them together via split screen. Special guests can join the game broadcast via video conference.

The ROOT SPORTS team, including anchors Brad Adam, Jen Mueller and Angie Mentink, will host pre and postgame shows as well as in-game updates from the Bellevue studio. All interviews with players and Manager Scott Servais will be conducted via video conference.

“World Feed”

Normally, home and visiting teams create parallel game broadcasts with their own cameras, operators and production crews. This season, in order to minimize the number of people present at ballparks on game days, both home and visiting teams will use a single “world feed,” which is a neutral view of the game that will be seen by both fan bases.

The home team is responsible for originating the game feed which teams can augment by inserting interviews, updates, graphics, StatCast, commentary and other elements. At each MLB ballpark, the visiting team’s TV director will have one camera they control to provide team-centric shots, such as inside their dugout.

In addition to studio content, ROOT SPORTS will give fans a chance to be part of broadcasts through a virtual cheering section. Similar to the longtime social media feature #WHEREiROOT, fans can post a picture on Twitter using the hashtag #MarinersBestSeat for their chance to be featured on the game broadcast.

All T-Mobile Park All the Time

With travel curtailed as a precaution, home and road game broadcasts for both radio and TV will be based at T-Mobile Park. For home games, there will be a ROOT SPORTS crew of some 30 people (including eight camera operators). Away games will require a crew of 12-15 people, working out of a mobile production unit stationed at the ballpark for the entire season, which will receive the feed from the ballpark where the Mariners are playing.

When the Mariners are on road trips, both radio and TV broadcasters will call the games while watching the “world feed” on monitors. For radio Producer/Engineer Gary Hill it will be “about as close as it gets to recreating the game,” which was once, long ago, a common practice on radio.

But wherever he is, Hill says he’s thrilled baseball is back. “I’d broadcast from anywhere to make it happen.”

Health & Safety Protocols

Whether at T-Mobile Park, or the ROOT SPORTS Bellevue studio, crew members and broadcasters will observe health and safety protocols including health screenings, social distancing and the use of face masks when not on the air. All facilities will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected using the latest technology and products designed to specifically target known or suspected presence of pathogens including COVID-19.

Tune In

Catch all the 2020 Season Mariners games, beginning on Friday, July 24, on 710 ESPN Seattle and the Seattle Mariners Radio Network, and on ROOT SPORTS.

Go to Mariners.com/Schedule for dates and start times for all Mariners games.