ESPN will once again broadcast the World Baseball Classic,
although now only in Spanish. The network inked the exclusive Spanish-language
media rights for the tournament's next two installments in 2013 and 2017.
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. ESPN will, however, broadcast the games in both Spanish and
English over the radio on ESPN Deportes Radio and ESPN Radio.
ESPN held the exclusive English-language rights for the
tournament's first installment in 2006 and joint rights with MLB Network in
2009. It surrendered full broadcast rights to MLB
Network for the next two tournaments in 2013 and 2017.
"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, GM 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."
The 2013 WBC will take place from March 2-19 and will
feature an expanded 28-team field. The WBC was created in 2005 in response to
the International Olympic Committee's decision to remove baseball from the list
of Summer Olympic events. It is sanctioned by International Baseball Federation
and is organized partly by the MLB and MLBPA.