Call it the Down Under doubleheader.
MLB Network will provide national coverage of the start of Major League Baseball’s 2014 season, televising a pair of Los Angeles Dodgers-Arizona Diamondbacks regular-season contests from Sydney, Australia on March 22-23.
Nine Network, the highest-rated Australian network, will simulcast the two games from the Sydney Cricket Ground, while MLB international partner ESPN will transmit the games to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, Latin America and the Caribbean.
U.S. regional sports networks FS Arizona, the cable home of the Diamondbacks, and SportsNet LA, the Dodgers’ rookie service that launches on Feb. 25, will also produce the games for their subscribers within the clubs' TV territories.
The MLB Network Special Presentation: Opening Series Sydney will feature Matt Vasgersian and John Smoltz from MLB Network in the broadcast booth and commentary from Ian Chappell of Nine Network, a former Australia cricket captain and a member of the International Cricket Council Hall of Fame.
MLB Network’s live telecast will premiere Stateside on Saturday, March 22 with the first game live at 4 a.m. (ET), immediately followed by an encore at 7 a.m. The second game goes live at 10 p.m. (March 23 in Sydney). In Australia, ESPN will also exclusively broadcast the exhibition games that the Diamondbacks and Dodgers will play against Team Australia prior to the two regular-season games.
“We are looking forward to working with MLB Network, Nine Network and ESPN to bring the MLB Opening Series Sydney to fans across the United States, in Australia and around the globe,” said Paul Archey, senior vice president, international business operations, Major League Baseball. “MLB Network has done an outstanding job producing and covering baseball at the international level, including the 2009 and 2013 World Baseball Classic tournaments. With our commitment to growing the game around the world, the exposure baseball will receive on Nine Network and ESPN will allow both passionate fans and those who may be watching the game for the first time to experience baseball at the highest level.”
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