ESPN expands international MLB rights

Major League Baseball has expanded its international rights deal with ESPN to cover more territories in Europe and Africa.

The new agreement, covering the 2020-21 seasons, will keep MLB on Fox Sports in the Netherlands and on ESPN’s TV channels in Africa for another two seasons. But the expanded partnership also include live over-the-top rights across much of Europe and all of sub-Saharan Africa, bringing MLB to the ESPN Player subscription service to 96 countries across the two continents.

ESPN Player will also carry the league-owned MLB Network, joining four other live channels on the service: ESPNU, the SEC Network, the ACC Network, and the Longhorn Network.

Though exact rights will vary depending on the specific market, the new deal covers both regular season, with up to 10 live games per week, midseason jewel events such as the All-Star Game, Home Run Derby, and the reprise of the London Series that began last year, as well as postseason play.

In Europe, there will be regular, post-season and MLB Network coverage available in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, the Balkan and Baltic countries, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Malta, Moldova, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Slovakia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and the Vatican City.

Through the agreement, regular-season coverage and the MLB Network will also be available on ESPN Player in Andorra, France and Spain.

The deal arrives as MLB is preparing to strike deals for its next cycle of US cable rights. The league in late 2018 extended its US broadcast relationship with Fox.