CES 2016: Major League Baseball in China Streaming Deal

Major League Baseball announced an expanded partnership that makes China’s Le Sports its official strategic partner in mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Under the three-year deal, which begins this month, 125 MLB games per season  will be streamed live in China.

The deal was announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Wednesday.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said that one of his priorities was the internationalization of baseball. “We believe the key to continued internationalization is localization,” he said. “We need to work with local partners to make it relevant.”

The 125-game lineup includes: four HD games per week during the regular season (96 games in total), 20 HD Postseason games, the All-Star Game, Home Run Derby, and all World Series games. In addition to live streaming games, Le Sports will have rights to broadcast games on video on demand.

Le Sports will also air Mandarin-language MLB programming, through its Internet platform, mobile applications, and OTT devices.

Besides broadcasting games, Le Sports will establish an online community for 30 MLB clubs and become a central portal for Chinese baseball fans to connect more deeply with their favorite teams, from supporting MLB live events to merchandise purchases. Le Sports will continue as a co-producer of MLB Perfect Pitch, a baseball reality show.  Le Sports also will broadcast MLB Beijing University Baseball League and MLB Shanghai University Baseball League opening and final games as well as MLB Play Ball! Youth Program games.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.