ESPN has reached a multiyear, multimedia agreement with World Baseball Classic, Inc. (WBCI) to present the World Baseball Classic in both 2013 and 2017, it was announced today. Coverage includes exclusive Spanish-language rights, audio rights and extensive coverage across ESPN’s studio programming and digital platforms.
Under the agreement, ESPN Deportes will provide comprehensive coverage as the Spanish-language home for both events, with live telecasts of all 39 games beginning with the three opening games on Saturday, March 2. In addition, ESPN Deportes Radio and ESPN Radio will broadcast games in Spanish and English.
World Baseball Classic coverage highlights include:
- Exclusive Spanish–language live coverage of all 39 games on ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes+ for both 2013 and 2017 events;
- Rights to qualifying games for the 2017 event;
- Rights to simulcast select games in Spanish-language on ESPN and/or ESPN2;
- Rights to broadcast games across ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes Radio-, with digital simulcasts permissible;
- In-progress highlight rights during Baseball Tonight and SportsCenter (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes), and digital highlight rights across our platforms;
- Extensive ESPNDeportes.com content featuring highlights, news and information.
“We have been the Spanish-language home of the World Baseball Classic since it started in 2006, and we are thrilled to be once again work with World Baseball Classic, Inc. to continue bringing coverage of the event,” said Lino Garcia, general manager of ESPN Deportes. “Baseball is one of the most followed sports among the U.S. Hispanic market and the success of the 2006 and 2009 tournaments on ESPN Deportes proved this is a must-see event for these emerging, passionate fans. In addition, our coverage across ESPN Audio strengthens our extensive baseball content for our listeners on both ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes.”
“We are pleased to once again be working with ESPN, which carried the 2006 and 2009 events, to bring every game of the World Baseball Classic tournament to fans throughout the United States on ESPN Deportes and ESPN Audio,” said Paul Archey, Senior Vice President, International Business Operations, Major League Baseball. “The World Baseball Classic is baseball’s premier international tournament and we are certain ESPN will provide outstanding coverage and promotion across their platforms for fans in both English and Spanish in advance and throughout the tournament.”
“Baseball enjoys overwhelming support from its Spanish speaking fans, and we’re confident ESPN Deportes and the rest of ESPN’s Spanish-language outlets will provide them unrivaled coverage of the World Baseball Classic,” said Timothy Slavin, member of the World Baseball Classic, Inc. Board of Directors. “Every four years the World Baseball Classic stirs a passion among fans as they get the opportunity to cheer for the team of their heritage, and ESPN is sure to help fuel that passion.”
The 2013 World Baseball Classic, which is the third edition of the tournament, features the world’s best players representing their countries and territories. Thirty-nine games will be played in seven venues in four nations and territories from March 2 through March 19, 2013. Team Japan is the two-time defending champion of the World Baseball Classic, having won in 2006 and 2009.
For the first time, four Qualifiers were held for the 2013 World Baseball Classic, which expanded the competitive field from 16 to 28 countries. Brazil, Canada, Chinese Taipei and Spain emerged from the Qualifiers to earn spots in the March 2013 event. Those four Qualifier teams will join the teams of the 12 countries/territories – Australia, China, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela – that received automatic invitations based on their performances in the 2009 tournament.
In the United States, MLB Network will be the exclusive English-language broadcast partner for all 39 games of the 2013 World Baseball Classic. The Semi-Final and Final games will take place March 17th- 19th at San Francisco’s AT&T Park, hosted by the San Francisco Giants. Second round games will be held in the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan from March 8th-12th and at Marlins Park in Miami, Florida from March 12th-16th. First round games will be held at the Fukuoka Yahoo! Japan Dome in Fukuoka, Japan from March 2nd-6th; at Intercontinental Stadium from March 2nd-5th in Taichung, Taiwan; at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico from March 7th-10th; and at Chase Field and Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Phoenix, Arizona from March 7th-10th.