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Matt Smith is the editor and lead writer at BaseballGB. An Oakland A's fan, Matt has been obsessed with baseball since 1998 and started writing about the sport in 2006.

BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra to broadcast MLB

Mlb5XtraHlBBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra is scheduled to broadcast a live MLB game for the first time next Sunday evening.  Baseball fans across Britain will be sitting excitedly at their DAB radio or computer to listen to a top match-up from the American League as the Rays take on the Twins at Target Field from 19.00.

British-based baseball fans have longed for some good news telling us that our beloved sport would be available more widely once again ever since Five’s decision to discontinue their North American sports coverage at the end of 2008, ending a 13 year relationship with MLB.

While established baseball fans can take advantage of subscriptions to ESPN America (now in HD on Sky) and/or the great offerings at MLB.com, MLB’s disappearance from terrestrial TV has been a big blow in the campaign to attract newcomers to the sport.

This isn’t quite a return to TV coverage, but it’s the next best thing.  Baseball suits the radio medium perfectly, in the same way that the BBC’s Test Match Special is the preferred way to follow England’s cricketing exploits for many people.

We don’t yet have details about whether this a one-off deal or a longer term arrangement, or quite what the programme format will be.  The NFL coverage on 5 Live Sports Extra normally takes a local radio feed for the game (occasionally they provide their own commentary), with a UK-based studio providing analysis and news during breaks in the play.  Arlo White, Neil Reynolds, Greg Brady and the rest of the ‘NFL on BBC’ crew take a similar approach to that of ‘Baseball on 5’: insightful analysis for both newcomers and established fans, with plenty of humour and audience interaction thrown in for good measure.

Hopefully the MLB coverage will take a similar format and it will be a regular programme.  ‘Baseball on 5’ didn’t just provide us with MLB games, it was the focal point for the British baseball community.  It’s not quite the same without the likes of Jonny Gould and Josh Chetwynd bringing us all together and if the BBC coverage can take on that role, it will be great news for us all.

19:00 –23:00 Sports Extra Baseball

Commentary on Tampa Bay Rays against Minnesota Twins on American independence day.

Who would have thought that a quick glimpse at the BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra schedule could bring so much joy?

UPDATE: As noted by Chris in the comments, it’s been confirmed that Jonny and Josh will indeed be hosting the show.  Roll on Sunday evening!

We are provisionally planning to run a live blog during next Sunday’s game.  More details will follow nearer the event.

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16 Responses to “BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra to broadcast MLB”

  1. Chris #

    Good news on the Jonny and Josh front.

    The dynamic duo will be presenting coverage of the live game on Sunday 11th May, which will be Chicago White Sox v Kansas City Royals.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/proginfo/radio/2010/wk28/sun.shtml#sun_sports

    Excellent news all round.

    June 29, 2010 at 12:41 am Reply
  2. Matt Smith #

    Certainly is fantastic news. Great to have them back. ‘Good evening fellow baseball nuts’ will ring out once again.

    June 29, 2010 at 7:07 am Reply
  3. Richard #

    Sorry to dampen all the excitement but you may have noticed the date of the broadcast is the 4th July. So maybe its a one off,hopefully not but I’m not holding my breath

    July 1, 2010 at 2:36 pm Reply
  4. Matt Smith #

    Richard – if you click on the link in Chris’s comment above, you’ll see that this refers to a programme the following Sunday (11 July). So it doesn’t look like this is just an Indpendence day treat

    July 1, 2010 at 5:05 pm Reply
  5. Mike Linwood #

    according to his twitter Nat Coombs is joining the show from 1st August so defo an on-going thing at the moment. The NFL coverage is to continue for the next season, which has got to be cause it was succesful so if we get behind the MLB coverage we might get some commitment to it from the BBC.

    July 1, 2010 at 7:54 pm Reply
  6. Mike Linwood #

    just had a message from Nat. They are taking the american feed, and he doesn’t know yet about any World Series plans

    July 1, 2010 at 8:07 pm Reply
  7. Matt Smith #

    Thanks for the info Mike. I enjoyed Nat’s presenting stint on Five’s NFL coverage, so he’d be a very good addition to the team.

    Isn’t it great to have some positive news about baseball coverage in the UK for a change?!

    July 1, 2010 at 9:39 pm Reply
  8. Matt Smith #

    Lots of info now available on Facebook. Join up to the MLB on Five Live group page for all the latest news.

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=332868900899

    We’ll definitely be running a live blog here on Sunday evening, so stick the radio/online stream on and come and join in!

    July 1, 2010 at 10:13 pm Reply
  9. Dawn #

    this is fantastic news , thanks for posting about this Matt. Havent been about much as Im in the process of moving house and look forward to listening to the game on the BBC this Sunday whilst packing boxes !

    Mike I hope you are right and the BBC will make a long term committment to bring us MLB….. is it to early to think we might actually see baseabll back on our screens on a BBC channel !!!!! … lets be positive and live in hope. :D

    Dawn

    July 2, 2010 at 12:11 am Reply
  10. Richard #

    Just looked at the BBC press office site.The first 3 games are all in the AL or NL central hence the 7 pm start (6 hrs behind = 1 pm start in the US). Hope we will hear some AL east games. Also interested to hear about the NFL.Dont know how the beeb will handled things when the seasons overlap in Sept/ Oct

    July 3, 2010 at 11:25 am Reply
  11. Matt Smith #

    Hi Richard. Technically it’s the other way around for those first few games: BBC want the programme to start at 7pm for those weeks for other scheduling reasons, therefore Central (midwest) games are being broadcast to fit in.

    The show will move to 6pm in September so I’m sure your hopes for AL East games will be met then!

    The MLB show is being made by the same production company as the NFL show, so when it comes to September it will be a case of MLB from 6pm, with NFL following at 9pm (or when the baseball game finishes).

    Sounds good to me!

    July 3, 2010 at 11:43 am Reply
  12. Richard #

    Sounds good. I thought only ESPN Radio had the national US radio rights to MLB otherwise its the teams radio announcers?

    July 3, 2010 at 2:31 pm Reply
  13. Matt Smith #

    The BBC will be using the commentary by one of the two teams’ local radio feeds, normally the home team. It will be the Twins Radio Network this Sunday (John Gordon and Dan Gladden).

    July 3, 2010 at 2:46 pm Reply
  14. Ian Davis #

    Stumbled upon the JG & JC broadcast last night. And all I can say is WOWW!!!! I thought I’d lost baseball forever after Five pulled out, but now they’re back. God I missed you guys!! Thank you, thank you, thank you BBC.

    July 5, 2010 at 10:02 am Reply
  15. Matt Smith #

    Is great news and the show went really well. Delighted to have them back, even if only on the radio.

    July 5, 2010 at 11:07 am Reply
  16. pitcher phil #

    Maybe richard desmond is a baseball fan. hope so. we need mlb back on 5

    July 27, 2010 at 11:23 am Reply

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