MLB International agree television deal with ESPN
Major League Baseball International have announced a multi-year extension to their current pan-European television rights agreement with ESPN America, a channel which serves more than 40 countries across Europe.
Through the new deal, ESPN America is able to provide European territories with extensive season-long coverage of Major League Baseball (MLB), encompassing spring training, over 300 regular season games, annual All-Star programming including the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game itself, every match of the MLB Playoffs and the World Series.
The new deal also extends to other European ESPN networks, notably the company’s ESPN channel in the UK which will show multiple live games each week throughout the season.
Jeroen Oerlemans, vice president of programming for ESPN International, said: “Around the world, ESPN and Major League Baseball have worked together to bring the sport of baseball to fans for decades now. We are delighted to continue that longstanding and successful relationship. This agreement will allow ESPN’s networks, led by ESPN America, to bring more baseball to fans than ever before.”
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ESPN America, which is available in nearly 19 million households across Europe, will continue to surround its live and delayed coverage of baseball with programmes such as ESPN’s Baseball Tonight and MLB Productions’ magazine show This Week in Baseball. The channel also has access to archive footage.
Paul Archey, senior vice president of international business operations for MLB, added: “Renewing our agreement with ESPN allows baseball fans around the world to continue enjoying Major League Baseball from opening day through to the World Series. We are looking forward to once again working with ESPN to connect with our current fanbase and to continue our commitment to developing new fans of the game globally.”
The 2011 MLB season began on Thursday 31st March, with reigning World Series champions the San Francisco Giants falling to a 2-1 defeat at the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Elsewhere, UK network ESPN Classic has come to an agreement with the BBC to screen 80 hours of sports footage from the BBC Sport archive on the channel.
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