FOX Sports has signed on Level 3 Communications to be its content delivery network provider for all 2011 Major League Baseball games, including ad-hoc Internet access, enterprise voice and, of course, video delivery.

The network will use Level 3's events-oriented Vyvx VenueNet+ services to provide live video backhaul services for the FOX broadcasts. As part of that service, FOX Sports is using Level 3's JPEG 2000 compression, an integrated service that simplifies the production and operational workflow for the customer while enabling broadcast encoding for video delivery from MLB venues back to FOX Sports' production headquarters in Los Angeles.

"After using Level 3's VenueNet+ services for the 2010 football season including the Super Bowl, which was one of the most-watched events in history we were truly impressed with the simplicity of the panel as well as the tremendous operational capabilities it enabled," said Jerry Steinberg, senior vice president of Field Operations with FOX Sports, in a statement. "We're pleased to work with Level 3 to provide viewers with top-quality broadcasts for the 2011 baseball season."

VenueNet+ combines Level 3's voice, video and data services into one streamlined package delivered from a single panel, reducing FOX Sports' operational complexities and enabling more advanced communications options for the event delivery process.

Level 3 is also providing FOX Sports with high-speed Internet access directly from the VenueNet+ panel. This particular feature of VenueNet+ was added at the request of customers who noted that they were previously limited by a lack of reliable, high-speed connectivity options in venues throughout the country. Additionally, based on feedback from customers, each VenueNet+ installation includes integrated Level 3 Enterprise voice services.