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How the Apple TV+ broadcast of baseball could improve

The Mets were featured in the inaugural baseball broadcast on Apple TV+.

The New York Mets V Pittsburgh Pirates, Citi Field, Queens, New York. Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

Shortly before the 2022 season got underway, Major League Baseball and Apple TV+ announced that the latter would be the exclusive home of a pair of games on Friday nights this season. Though they were playing on the road, it seemed somewhat fitting that the Mets—the team with the home run apple—were featured on the very first broadcast.

Without delving too far into criticism of the broadcast, of which there has been plenty on social media between last night and today, here are some suggestions that could improve future broadcasts.

  • The broadcasters—Melanie Newman, Chris Young, Hannah Keyser, and field reporter Brooke Fletcher—were working a game together for the first time, and it showed. The dialogue was constant, frequently veering pretty far from the action on the field, and would be improved by simply saying less.
  • The audio mix of the booth and the game itself sounded unnatural. Even with a well-oiled machine in the booth, it’s unsettling when it sounds like the booth audio is completely separate from what’s going on in the ballpark.
  • The overlay in the bottom-right corner of the screen for the vast majority of the broadcast included a mix of betting odds—at a time when we’re all being beaten over the head with sports betting ads, including at times on this website—and a variety of mathematically-shaky “probabilities” of specific events. Without an explanation of how those numbers came to exist, they felt relatively useless.
  • It goes without saying that the broadcast crash that happened to many users about midway through the game is something that should not happen again. Quality should be something at which Apple excels, and lots of fans praised how good the game looked on their screens. But being able to reliably watch the whole game is the most important of streaming a live sport. Throw in some glitches within the stream and some moments of fast-paced, inadvertent camera changes, and this production was definitely not coming from the SNY truck.
  • When the time came to show highlights of other games, Apple’s display made the game they were broadcasting incredibly small and muted its audio, making some of what ESPN does with its in-game layout look good by comparison.
  • There’s no need to rattle off a bunch of Apple product placement during the game.
  • Allow viewers to pause and rewind.

It is always going to be impossible for a national broadcast to match the excellence of Gary, Keith, and Ron, and fortunately for Mets fans, only one of the team’s other games is scheduled to be carried exclusively by Apple. Here’s hoping some of the kinks have been smoothed out and that the next Mets appearance on the platform will be a better experience than the first one was.