Tuesday, August 13, 2013

English Broadcasts Of Japanese Baseball

I've been remiss about reporting on this but there's actually a TV channel that is carrying Japanese baseball games with English play by play.  It's One World Sports and they have been the sponsors of John Gibson's Japan Baseball Weekly podcast this year.  John is also writing a blog about the Giants and Japanese baseball on their website.

OWS started out this season just carrying Giants home games.  Typically they will carry the game live early in the morning and run a replay of it later in the day.  They have recently started carrying some Pacific League games as well.

The problem with OWS is that it is not carried by very many providers.  There's only four and I think only one of them (Dish Network) is nationwide.  However, at some point recently, they started offering a streaming feed on the internet.  There's something that says you need to register for a preview of the channel for a trial period but I've been able to watch without registering.  I did have to download a plugin to get the streaming to work.  The video player does not "pop out" of the browser (like the Justin.tv feeds do) and it does not work on mobile devices.  8/19 UPDATE - I don't know if something changed since last week or if I just missed something but it turns out that you can stream on a mobile device - I was able to do it today on my iPad using both Chrome and Safari.

It looks like what they are doing is taking the video feed (with game audio) from one of the Japanese networks and adding the English play by play.  I've only watched today's Giants/Baystars game so I don't know if every game is like this or not (although I do get some sense that it is from their YouTube channel).  I assume the broadcaster is in the ballpark but I don't know that for sure.  It strikes me that the broadcaster doesn't know the players particularly well (he called Nori Nakamura "Nakamoto") but I may have just caught him on a bad day.  He did keep referring to the team in Sapporo as "the Ham Fighters" as in "the Ham Fighters of Nippon" rather than "the Fighters of Nippon Ham" which is a pet peeve of mine.

Still something is better than nothing.  I've been told by friends and neighbors that there are English language broadcasts of Japanese games that have been showing up on Comcast sports channels in Maryland (I have Direct TV and have no access to these channels).  I have wondered if those broadcasts have been syndicated from OWS.

What I'd really like to see is OWS set up a mobile app to allow streaming and sell subscriptions.  For me personally that would be much more convenient than the current set up.


Anonymous said...

I've seen the same games on the Comcast Network; in fact I wrote about it last year when they were showing Carp games:


The games on Comcast Network make it clear that they're "a presentation of One World Sports". It's a very odd broadcast and I've suspected that the English play-by-play is added after the fact. I haven't checked on this year's games, but last year's games were broadcast several weeks after the fact. Comcast seems to have just one game a week on Friday nights, and one recent Friday night was a repeat of the prior week's game.

One game I saw was clearly "edited" with a minimum of effort; it seemed like they put the commercials in every "X" number of minutes rather than between innings. They showed shots of the crowd in "real time" between innings, and then later - and I am not exaggerating - cut into a commercial in the middle of a double. Yep, the ball left the bat, we went to commercial, and came back to see an outfielder throwing the ball back in.

As I mentioned, last year all the games were Carp home games. This year they're all Giants home games, which was mildly disappointing because I was starting to like the Carp. I'm pretty sure it's been the same English-speaking announcer both years. It's hard to tell how much he knows the Japanese games; I've heard him say "Ham Fighters" once, but he also relates a decent amount of info on the players, ballparks and teams.

Despite the shortcomings, It's a heck of a lot of fun to watch.

BTW, I tried posting this several times using my WordPress ID and it didn't seem to take... My apologies if you've got multiple comments from me.

Greg Dunn said...

Very cool - watching the Giants and Bay Stars right now. Thanks for the link!

NPB Card Guy said...

Thanks for the info on the Comcast games. Which channel do the games show up on? I get Comcast Sports MidAtlantic via DriectTV but I haven't found any games on their schedule.

Anonymous said...

The games show up on a channel called The Comcast Network, which is not the same as Comcast SportsNet. Most of the day The Comcast Network seems to show infomercials.

- Joe Shlabotnik

NPB Card Guy said...

Ahh, that explains something one of my friends said. They said it was on "TCN" - so that's The Comcast Network.

And I don't get it on DirectTV.