Strategic agency Rushmans has appointed Pitch International to distribute and sell the TV rights to the Cuba National Baseball Series.
The four-year deal, which follows Rushmans’ partnership with RTVC - the commercial arm of Cuban Radio and Television - will see the domestic Cuban competition made available to viewers outside the island nation for the first time. The agreement begins with this year’s second phase and play-off series, covering around 60 games from 1st November to 24th January 2016.
Six games will be made available each week in high definition with English and Spanish commentary.
The Cuba National Baseball Series is widely respected throughout the sport as a rich source of talent, and Pitch International will be targeting not only those broadcasters who serve the Cuban community in North America, but also in strong baseball markets throughout Asia and Latin America.
The term of the deal also covers the run-up to baseball and softball’s return to the Olympic programme at Tokyo 2020.
Rushmans, which has established Rushmans Cuba as a joint venture with Cuba-focused investment company LGC Capital, has already marketed the rights to Cuba’s historic soccer friendly with the USA earlier this month and has further plans to explore rights and events opportunities in soccer and boxing.
Greater inward investment is expected in Cuba as the result of a rapprochement in relations with the USA, with restrictions on American travel into the country being eased and longstanding trade embargo expected to be lifted in due course.
“The National Baseball Series is the most important sports event series in a nation where baseball runs through the veins of the people,” said Rushmans founder Nigel Rushmans. “For generations Cuba has been producing hugely talented players, many of whom have gone on to find further fame overseas.
“Now the world has the opportunity to see Cuban baseball first hand and experience not only the excitement of the games and the extraordinary talent of the players but the passion of the fans and the remarkable hold the sport has on the country.”
Pitch International chairman Trevor East added: “This represents an exciting move into baseball for us and Cuba is perhaps historically the sport’s most important nation outside the USA. There is already tremendous interest in everything that is happening in Cuba and we look forward to helping to negotiate the very best deals for RTV, Cuban baseball and our international broadcast clients.”