MLB connects ballpark crews with Riedel intercom systems

The Major League Baseball Network is using Artist digital matrix intercom systems from Riedel Communications in many of its ballparks around the country that are remotely controlled over an IP network in the network’s main production facility in Secaucus, NJ. Eventually, as early as the start of the 2010 season, all 30 ballparks will use Riedel systems to enable crews to communicate remotely.

These remote systems, each equipped with VoIP cards, will be intelligently trunked back to the MLB Network over an IP network. The intercom system in Secaucus alone includes more than 160 intercom control panels plus interface equipment for VoIP, analog telephone lines and digital party lines.

The system consists of four Artist 128 frames linked via fiber at the MLB Network facility in Secaucus, plus 32 additional Artist mainframes that will be installed at all 30 MLB ballparks and a few other locations.

“Our ability to trunk the ballparks via IP has given us unparalleled connectivity to all Major League Baseball teams,” said Mark Haden, VP of engineering and IT at the MLB Network. “That allows us to operate more efficiently and effectively. Riedel’s intelligent trunking allows operators to simply use the system without having to ask someone else to open up a communication path for them.”

The Systems Group, based in New Jersey, is installing the Riedel systems.

Intercom panel types at MLB Network include both Riedel’s 1000 series LED display panels along with 2000 series panels with LCD displays. All panels are connected to the matrix digitally via either Cat 5 or coax cabling using AES audio. Some locations also will be equipped with keypad expansion panels to provide extra programmable keys and enable direct dialing of phone lines from intercom workstations.

In addition to panels, the system includes Connect Solo dual telephone hybrids for the interfacing of analog telephone lines; VoIP matrix client cards, offering the system a number of VoIP connections; C44 digital party line interfaces; and C3 digital belt packs. Nearly 80 Air headsets complete the order.

The MLB Network began operations Jan. 1, 2009, and now reaches approximately 50 million cable and satellite households. It offers continuous baseball-related programming comprised of past and present games as well as original studio programming.