When it comes to covering an event as huge as the World Series, Kevin Landy, executive producer at Fox Sports Midwest, likes to ask himself one question: “What sets us apart?”
With nearly every major sports-media property establishing some sort of presence at the Fall Classic, the regional sports network of the National League champion St. Louis Cardinals needs to find a way of keeping the fans they entertain all season to keep coming home.
For Landy, that means one thing: insider access.
Fox Sports Midwest will expand its postseason analyst team with the addition of former Major League pitcher and regular-season Cardinals studio analyst Cal Eldred.
“Cal has a tremendous relationship with the team, especially with manager Tony LaRussa,” says Landy. “So we are basically asking Cal to go in there and really assess after each game the mood, the mentality, the physicality, and the overall appearance of the team and then come out and report on that for our audience.”
Landy’s belief is that true Cardinals fans will stick with the broadcast team that has brought them the action night-in and night-out since April and turn to Fox Sports Midwest for postgame coverage throughout the World Series.
“I think that, for our core audience, they will want to go to a source that they know and trust,” says Landy, whose network produced more than 150 Cardinals games during the regular season. “Cal will pick up on things that maybe other people won’t. He’ll know that certain phrases mean certain things. He’ll know that, when they don’t say something, that means something else and interpret that.”
According to Landy, there are benefits, although they are limited, to being an affiliate of Fox Sports, which will carry the World Series for the 12th consecutive year.
“One advantage we have is that we will have a clean feed of their programming and the game, which will allow us to have better highlights,” says Landy, adding that his network will share resources with Fox Sports Southwest (the Rangers affiliate) as well. “We’re limited, however, to the number of minutes of footage that we can use in our broadcast of postgame stuff. The video will look great because it will be clean, iso’ed footage, but we won’t be able to maximize its use.”
The network’s postgame show will be broadcast live from outside Busch Stadium for Cardinals home games (Games 1,2,6, and 7) and will originate from the Fox Sports Midwest studios for away games (3,4, and 5). Eldred and reporter Jim Hayes will travel with the team to all games to get reactions from the clubhouse following each game.
Fox Sports Midwest will bring extensive coverage to viewers and fans at FoxSportsMidwest.com. The network has also been active in social media through the postseason. On Facebook and Twitter, it has been providing fans original news, polls, photos, and videos.
The network is encouraging viewers to tweet questions and comments to its postgame show (via @FSMidwest) and will feature selected tweets on-air in a segment called “The Tweet Is On.”
During the playoffs, the network also solicited fans to use the hashtag #11in11, in honor of the Cardinals’ pursuing their 11th World Series championship.