WBSC strikes rights deals for softball Olympic qualifier

The World Baseball Softball Confederation has agreed a host of broadcast rights deals for its Women’s Softball Europe/Africa Qualifier event for the 2020 summer Olympic Games.

The tournament commenced in the Dutch city of Utrecht on Tuesday and will through to Saturday.

In Europe, the WBSC has awarded exclusive broadcast rights in the Czech Republic to public-service broadcaster Czech TV, while pay-television broadcaster Sky has secured rights in Italy, and in Spain, all the games will be available through OTT service LaLigaSportsTV.

Meanwhile, streaming platform FloSports will show the event exclusively in the US and Canada.

The International Olympic Committee’s OTT service, Olympic Channel, will also provide live streaming of all 16 games, along with the WBSC’s newly-launched OTT platform Game Time.

Tokyo 2020 will mark baseball/softball’s first appearance at an Olympic Games since Beijing 2008. Eight teams will participate in the Softball Europe/Africa Qualifier, including the two best African national teams, South Africa and Botswana, and the top six European nations – Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.

WBSC president Riccardo Fraccari said: “These agreements with some of Europe’s leading networks and platforms not only tell us that women’s sport is a very attractive product but also that baseball and softball are continuing to penetrate into new markets beyond the traditional territories where our sport is popular, like Asia and across the Americas.”