NBC Sports Bay Area and the San Francisco Giants have confirmed that they will use innovative new “SplitKast” technology, a first-of-its-kind for an MLB broadcast.
Color commentator Mike Krukow will join his longtime partner and play-by-play announcer Duane Kuiper for 22 N.L. West road games (Arizona D-backs, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres) during the 2020 MLB season via live remote from the NBC Sports Bay Area studios in San Francisco.
He will provide commentary as Kuiper calls the game from the stadium’s broadcast booth.
“SplitKast” will debut on the Giants season opener on Thursday, March 26th against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Krukow will continue to call 81 Giants games with Kuiper from Oracle Park.
It was also announced by Giants President and Chief Executive Officer Larry Baer and NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California Senior Vice President and General Manager Matt Murphy that Krukow has signed a two-year contract extension. He will continue to call games with Kuiper on NBC Sports Bay Area through the 2021 MLB season, which will mark their 30th season together as broadcast partners.
“We are thrilled to have our iconic broadcast team of Kruk and Kuip together as we enter this new decade of Giants baseball,” said Baer. “We also commend our broadcast partner, NBC Sports Bay Area, for their creativity and use of technology that will keep this tandem together, when one is on the road and the other back at home, which is the ultimate benefit for our fans.”
“Kruk and Kuip are Bay Area treasures, and it is important that these two beloved broadcasters continue to call games together for Giants fans to enjoy,” said Murphy. “The innovative integration of Kruk and Kuip’s commentary from separate locations into a seamless broadcast is an example of how NBC Sports Bay Area uses technology to deliver memorable experiences to fans.”
NBC Sports Bay Area will provide a dedicated studio for “SplitKast” broadcasts at its San Francisco headquarters. During each telecast, Krukow will be providing commentary while watching a monitor in San Francisco showing a real-time feed of the game, to go along with Kuiper’s play-by-play call from the out-of-town stadium’s broadcast booth. An additional monitor will be fed from the production truck to give Krukow the opportunity to view various camera angles of the ballpark and play. He will be able to communicate with the producer and director using audio channels from the fiber optic transmission connecting the San Francisco studio to the production truck at the stadium. The “SplitKast” production team will then create a natural game experience for Krukow and Kuiper, which will translate to a seamless broadcast.
“It’s something that hasn’t been done before, but we’re really looking forward to being able to do 22 more games together,” Krukow said. “I’m only losing six games from what I did last year, and that to me is enormous. I don’t want to have to quit. To me, this was a gift. I’m ecstatic about it.”
“I think it’ll take two or three innings to get used to the dynamics of him not being there, but we’ve done so many games for so long that I think it’s going to be an easy transition, I really do,” Kuiper said.
2020 marks Krukow’s 30th season in the television booth and his 26th full season on the radio side. A 14-time Emmy award winner, Krukow was one of eight finalists for the 2017 Ford C. Frick Award for baseball broadcasting excellence. He was named California’s 2015 and 2017 Sportscaster of the Year, as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. A former big-league pitcher, Krukow played 14 seasons at the Major League level.