World Baseball Classic, Inc. (WBCI) today announced that MLB Network has been selected as the exclusive English-language telecast partner in the United States for both the 2013 and 2017 World Baseball Classic tournaments. The 2013 World Baseball Classic, which is the third edition of the tournament, will feature 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.
MLB Network will televise all 39 games of the 2013 World Baseball Classic, including the Semi-Finals and Final taking place March 17th– 19th at San Francisco’s AT&T Park and hosted by the San Francisco Giants. Second round games will be hosted by the Miami Marlins and held from March 12th– 16th at Marlins Park, which just wrapped up its inaugural season. First round competition will be hosted by the Arizona Diamondbacks and held from March 7th-10th at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona and Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale. First round international venues will also include the Fukuoka Yahoo! Japan Dome (Fukuoka, Japan), Intercontinental Stadium (Taichung, Taiwan) and Hiram Bithorn Stadium (San Juan, Puerto Rico) while the Tokyo Dome (Tokyo, Japan) will host a second round pool.
In addition to televising all 39 games, MLB Network will extensively cover the World Baseball Classic in its studio programming, including on MLB Tonight, Hot Stove, Intentional Talk and Clubhouse Confidential. MLB Network will also premiere a World Baseball Classic promotional spot during the 2012 World Series that will highlight the excitement and memorable moments of previous tournaments. MLB Network televised 16 games of the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
“We are excited about working with MLB Network to bring every game of the 2013 and 2017 World Baseball Classic tournaments to fans throughout the United States,” said Paul Archey, Senior Vice President, International Business Operations, Major League Baseball. “MLB Network has done an exceptional job producing and covering baseball, including part of the 2009 tournament. In addition to the game broadcasts, MLB Network’s studio programming will provide fans with unprecedented in-depth coverage of this global event.”
“MLB Network is a welcomed broadcast partner for the next two World Baseball Classics, as baseball fans and players alike are increasingly turning to MLB Network for their baseball news and live-game coverage,” said Timothy Slavin, Director, Business Affairs and Licensing/Senior Counsel, Major League Baseball Players Association. “We’re confident that the amount of coverage provided by MLB Network prior to and during the World Baseball Classic will dramatically increase the interest in and exposure of the game’s most significant international competition.”
“The World Baseball Classic is the premier international baseball competition and acquiring the exclusive rights to the 2013 and 2017 tournaments continues MLB Network’s goal of acquiring premium exclusive content to help grow the network and serve baseball fans,” said MLB Network President and CEO Tony Petitti.
MLB Network is also televising the final game of each World Baseball Classic Qualifier pool. The Qualifiers, which expanded the competitive field of the tournament from 16 to 28 countries, has already seen Spain and Canada advance to the main tournament. The final two Qualifiers will begin on November 15 in Panama City, Panama and New Taipei City, Taiwan. MLB Network will air the final Qualifier game of the New Taipei, Taiwan pool on Sunday, November 18 live at 1:00 a.m. ET and the final Qualifier game from the Panama City, Panama pool on Monday, November 19 live at 8:00 p.m. ET. The winners from each Qualifier will advance to the 2013 World Baseball Classic tournament.
Those four Qualifier teams will join the 12 countries – 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 performance in the 2009 tournament. 2013 World Baseball Classic tournament dates, venues and pool compositions are included at the end of the release. Additional information and the opportunity to register for an exclusive ticket sales window is available at www.worldbaseballclassic.com.
About the World Baseball Classic
The World Baseball Classic is the premier international baseball tournament, sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation, and features the best players in the world competing for their home countries and territories. More than 1.5 million fans from all over the world have attended the tournament games, held in March 2006 and 2009. Team Japan is the reigning World Baseball Classic Champion, taking home both the inaugural and 2009 titles. The upcoming World Baseball Classic will be played in March 2013 and will again feature the greatest baseball-playing nations in the world. The tournament will be held every four years thereafter.
About World Baseball Classic, Inc.
World Baseball Classic, Inc. (WBCI) is a company created at the direction of Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) to operate the World Baseball Classic tournament. The tournament, which is sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), is supported by MLB, the MLBPA, Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), their respective players associations and other leagues and players from around the world.
About MLB Network
MLB Network is the ultimate television destination for baseball fans, featuring the Emmy Award-winning MLB Tonight, live games, including Postseason telecasts, original programming, highlights, and insights and analysis from the best in the business, including Bob Costas, Peter Gammons, Jim Kaat, Al Leiter and Harold Reynolds. MLB Network debuted on January 1, 2009 as the largest launch in cable television history and is currently distributed in approximately 70 million homes throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. For more information and to find MLB Network in your area, go to www.mlbnetwork.com.