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World Baseball Classic rights deals agreed in US, South Korea

MLB Network, the pay-television broadcaster operated by North America’s Major League Baseball, has acquired exclusive US rights for the 2013 and 2017 editions of the World Baseball Classic national team tournament.

Under the deal with World Baseball Classic Inc, a partnership between MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association, MLB Network will show all 39 games from March 2-19 next year, with the tournament being staged at venues in Japan, Chinese Taipei, Puerto Rico and the US.

“MLB Network has done an exceptional job producing and covering baseball, including part of the 2009 tournament,” MLB’s senior vice-president of international business operations, Paul Archey, said.

South Korean media company JTBC has also acquired rights for the 2013 World Baseball Classic in a deal with the MP & Silva agency, which is the tournament’s worldwide rights distribution partner for the 2013 edition, excluding the US, Canada, Puerto Rico and Japan.

JTBC will be the exclusive broadcaster of the tournament in South Korea and will be able to exploit the rights on terrestrial, satellite, cable, IPTV, internet and mobile platforms. The deal covers all 39 games.

“It’s the first time we have obtained the rights to broadcast this world-class event and we are hoping to see Korea play well and advance to the final rounds,” JTBC executive director Jeong Do Hong said.