ESPN expands its Korean baseball coverage to 130 countries
ESPN, the Disney-owned US sports broadcaster, has expanded its media rights deal with the Korean Baseball Organisation, the top-tier professional league in South Korea, adding 130 international countries to its coverage.
The agreement was brokered by Korean media firm Eclat, the KBO League’s international rights holder.
ESPN already holds the KBO rights in the US in a deal signed just in time for the start of the season on 5 May. Matches are being aired on ESPN2 and the ESPN app.
ESPN will now provide live English-language coverage of KBO’s regular season and postseason games across large areas of Europe, Asia, the Americas, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Africa.
In Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean (including the Dominican Republic), games will air across ESPN platforms, including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3 and ESPN Play, the broadcaster’s multiscreen live and on-demand broadband service in the region.
In Canada, games will be aired on Canadian pay-television broadcaster TSN’s linear and digital platforms.
In Europe, the Middle East, Africa and select countries, games will stream live and on-demand on ESPN Player, ESPN’s over-the-top platform. In Africa, games will also be distributed on linear channel ESPN Africa.
In the Netherlands, games will be shown on pay-television broadcaster Fox Sports’ linear and digital platforms.
Throughout Asia, excluding Japan, Korea, Taiwan and India, games will be broadcast on Fox Sports Asia’s linear networks.
Un-Chan Chung, commissioner of the KBO, said: “I am pleased that the KBO league will be introduced to a broader audience. In this uncertain time, I hope our league can be a role-model to the world of sports and become a favourite brand to baseball fans globally.”
The KBO had tendered the rights in mid-March for the 2020 to 2023 cycle, with a deadline for first round bids on 19 March.
The KBO is the only professional baseball league currently being broadcast on a major network in the US owing to the shutdown of the majority of live sports globally.