MLB Network’s graphics package and infrastructure received a digital facelift ahead of the 2016 season courtesy of Reality Check Systems (RCS), marking the network’s first graphic redesign since its launch in 2009. RCS in collaboration with MLB Network developed a cohesive new graphics package for the network, which debuted on Opening Day across MLB Network’s studio shows, game coverage and MLB Network Strike Zone and is powered by a new workflow with RCS Foundation at its core. The proprietary cloud-based software curates and organizes stats and synthesizes the information with appropriate designs and templates for real-time playout on-air.

 
 
 
 

“Data is pivotal to storytelling in baseball and RCS’ new pipeline makes it easy to incorporate stats and execute ideas across programs at lightning speed. At the same time, viewers benefit from an updated look and graphics that make the information more digestible,” shared Chris Mallory, SVP, Creative Services, MLB Network. “Having worked with RCS for years, we knew that we could count on them to build an efficient, scalable workflow and graphics package.”

From inception to delivery, RCS designers, programmers and artists collaborated with MLB Network to bring its vision to life, proposing ideas and compiling designs to achieve a practical, future-proof workflow for fast responding graphics. After designing a timeless graphics package comprised of a baseline ticker and menu strip, among other templates, RCS overhauled MLB Network’s data center, replacing old systems with new technology and integrating it with RCS Foundation. The cloud-based solution streamlines data-driven graphics production for MLB Network, acting as a bridge between its data and graphics. The software aggregates and sorts incoming stats, combines them with Viz templates, and makes the graphics available in MLB Network’s Viz Content Pilot to send to air.

 
 
 
 

“MLB Network is always working to raise the bar of its on-air product, and working with its creative team is always rewarding. Together, we wanted to develop a simpler way for their production teams to display, discuss and analyze data for multiple games happening at the same time, and knew that a workflow with Foundation at its center would allow that,” shared RCS Co-Founder and Executive Producer Steven Heimbold. “In the past, MLB Network had to process all of the data for graphics at an individual level, but with Foundation, all that is automated now. As data comes in, the software recognizes where it is needed, how it needs to get there and the protocol for combining it with the right template.”

Beyond establishing the data workflow, RCS revamped two heavily used real-time applications: a custom baseline ticker and the menustrip.  The companies worked together to rebuild the baseline ticker which runs 24/7 on MLB Network from the ground up for a simpler, yet more powerful VizRT architecture.  With it in place, the network can now seamlessly deploy visual pop-up images and content with 100 percent compatibility with other graphics on-screen.  A completely redesigned user interface also makes it easier to program and respond to developing stories.

For the menustrip RCS updated the technology to enable a single application and scene to be used across multiple productions and the ability to quickly swap show specific information.  A revamped interface also allows production to make fast and easy adjustments during the show.  Furthermore with the graphics operator less encumbered by technical details he/she can focus on carrying viewers through the network’s upcoming content.

Project Highlights

  • Enhanced Graphics Package:  RCS delivered an all-new look for MLB Network’s graphics taking into account the years of expansion while maintaining the sentiment of the initial package designed by RCS in 2009. The menustrip, baseline ticker, and the studio graphics package were all built to play off one other.  RCS focused on achieving a modern but extensible and functional look that makes baseball data more digestible for viewers.
  • Overhauled Graphics Control:  In addition to improving the viewer experience, RCS optimized the workflow for MLB Network personnel building and deploying all graphics.  With build speed a primary focus, the RCS team reimagined Content Pilot control templates for graphics and key custom applications.
  • RCS Foundation:  For maximum efficiency RCS integrated Foundation – its proprietary cloud-based software that organizes and synthesizes stats with graphics – into MLB Network’s graphics workflow.   The technology delivers stats to graphics operators and on-air graphics engines with unprecedented accuracy and speed for instant playout.
  • Specialty 3D Graphics:  Pushing the limits of the VizRT platform RCS created cutting edge scenes that allow MLB Network to visualize complex data in real-time.
  • Next-Gen Storytelling:  Launched simultaneously across multiple studio shows, live game coverage, and other programming RCS’ technology is enabling MLB Network to trail blaze a path to more meaningful storytelling in sports broadcast.

Data is pivotal to storytelling in baseball and RCS’ new pipeline makes it easy to incorporate stats and execute ideas across programs at lightning speed. At the same time, viewers benefit from an updated look and graphics that make the information more digestible.”

Chris MallorySVP, Creative Services, MLB Network

“MLB Network is always working to raise the bar of its on-air product, and working with its creative team is always rewarding. Together, we wanted to develop a simpler way for their production teams to display, discuss and analyze data for multiple games happening at the same time, and knew that a workflow with Foundation at its center would allow that.”

Steven HeimboldRCS Co-Founder and Executive Producer

“Having worked with RCS for years, we knew that we could count on them to build an efficient, scalable workflow and graphics package.”

Chris MallorySVP, Creative Services, MLB Network

“In the past, MLB Network had to process all of the data for graphics at an individual level, but with Foundation, all that is automated now. As data comes in, the software recognizes where it is needed, how it needs to get there and the protocol for combining it with the right template.”

Steven HeimboldRCS Co-Founder and Executive Producer