The 2023 Word Baseball Classic (WBC) national teams competition has increased its coverage in Japan after securing Prime Video Japan (PVJ), the regional subsidiary of the Amazon streaming platform, and prominent pay-television sports broadcaster J Sports as media rights partners in the country.

The two platforms join free-to-air broadcasters TV Asahi and Tokyo Broadcasting System (TSB) in providing coverage for the tournament.

This year’s WBC will run from March 8 to 21 after being postponed from 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It will feature an expanded field of 20 national teams, with matches staged in Japan, the US, and Taiwan.

The last edition in 2017, featuring 16 teams, was won by the US.

Under its deal, PVJ has gained live rights for all Japan group matches, one quarter-final – prioritizing Japan’s match if they qualify – as well as both semi-finals and the final, which will be played in the US.

Several matches shown by PVJ  will also be shown free-to-air, with TBS providing coverage of Japan’s opening group match against China, the second group match against South Korea, and the semi-finals.

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TV Asahi will broadcast Japan’s third group match against the Czech Republic, the fourth group match against Australia, the quarter-final, and the final.

J Sports, meanwhile, will provide coverage for the rest of the 39 games across its linear and streaming platform as part of a deal that excludes matches being broadcast by PVJ, TBS, and TV Asahi.

J Sports is available on PVJ as an add-on channel, giving fans a chance to access all matches through the platform.

As part of its deal, J Sports will air Japan matches from the past four WBCs, as well as other matches from the 2013 and 2017 editions in the run-up to this year’s edition.

The platform will also replay all games PVJ is covering through J Sports On Demand in April.

All 47 games of this year's tournament will be shown in the US by national network Fox as part of an exclusive deal struck in October 2022.

Meanwhile, PVJ has also become a sponsor of the Japan national baseball team as its digital media partner, gaining rights to use the team’s logo.

As part of that deal, announced yesterday (January 25), the platform gains exclusive live streaming rights to the Japan national team’s warm-up matches against domestic club teams the Chunichi Dragons on March 4 and Orix Buffaloes on March 7.

Image: Harry How/Getty Images