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MLB and Tencent expand Chinese streaming deal to cover multiple Asian markets

Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand reportedly covered in new agreement.

1 April 2021 Ed Dixon
  • Three-year contract runs until end of 2023 season
  • More than half a dozen Asian countries and regions included in deal, according to China News
  • Tencent signed on as MLB’s official digital broadcasting partner in China back in 2018

Major League Baseball (MLB) has expanded its rights agreement with Tencent in a deal that will see the Chinese media giant broadcast games from the North American baseball league in several Asian markets.

The three-year contract, which runs until the end of the 2023 season, will see Tencent continue to live stream MLB games in China and – for the first time – in more than half a dozen Asian territories on its international over-the-top (OTT) platform WeTV.

According to China News, the others countries covered include Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. The other markets have not yet been reported but WeTV currently operates in Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.

Tencent and WeTV’s MLB coverage includes at least on live game per matchday from the regular season, as well as spring training games, All-Star Games and the playoffs. Shoulder programming will also be broadcast, including content from MLB players and influencers.

Tencent became MLB’s official digital broadcasting partner in China in 2018, when it secured an exclusive contract to live stream 125 games a season.

MLB has also signed a rights deal until the end of 2023 with China’s Oriental Pearl Media, which operates IPTV platform BesTV in addition to regional cable television channels.

Oriental Pearl New Media’s services cover 31 regions in China and it reportedly reaches more than 100 million households in the country. 

The China News report adds that the deal is MLB’s first ‘multi-platform copyright cooperation in China’ and covers ‘all terminals and all channels such as screens, buses and subways.’


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