The MLB Network is an American television sports channel dedicated to baseball. It is primarily owned by Major League Baseball, with AT&T's WarnerMedia News & Sports, Comcast's NBC Sports Group, Charter Communications, and Cox Communications having minority ownership.
The channel's headquarters and studios are located at their leased facilities in Secaucus, New Jersey. a building owned by Hartz Mountain Industries which formerly housed MSNBC's studios. MLB Network's studios also house NHL Network, which came under the management of MLB Advanced Media in mid-2015 and transferred most operations from the network's former Toronto home base.
Tony Petitti, former executive producer of CBS Sports, was named the network's first president. Petitti served as MLB Network's president until December 2014, when he was appointed as Chief Operating Officer of Major League Baseball. Rob McGlarry, who worked as Senior and later Executive Vice-president of Business Affairs at MLB Network since 2009, was named the network's second president.
As of February 2015, MLB Network is available to approximately 69,991,000 pay television households (60.1% of subscription television customers) in the United States.
Major League Baseball became the fourth major North American professional sports league to launch its own 24-hour cable network. NBA TV dates back to 1999, the NHL Network to 2001 (though not in the United States until 2007), and the NFL Network to 2003. However, MLB Network is carried in the most households of these four networks, as it is available on all of the top-ten video operators in the United States.
MLB Network soft-launched on December 16, 2008, with a rolling automated loop of archival programming and promotions for the network for cable systems that carried the network's transmissions leading up to the January 1, 2009 launch. The channel fully launched at 6:00 p.m. EST with the premiere of Hot Stove.
In April 2012, MLB Network's standard definition feed shifted to a 16:9 letterbox format. Both of the network's SD and HD feeds now show the same format.
On April 4, 2016, MLB Network debuted a new on-air graphics package optimized for the 16:9 format, replacing the previous on-air look used since the network's New Year's Day 2009 launch.
The network has signed contracts with numerous cable and satellite carriers, including DirecTV, Dish Network, Verizon Fios, Cablevision, Charter, Comcast, Cox Communications, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, and AT&T Uverse. In a deal that was pioneered by other sports league owned channels, MLB tied carriage of the MLB Network to the ability to carry the popular out of market MLB Extra Innings package. In return, cable and satellite providers were offered a minority share of the new network.