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Chinese tech and entertainment company LeTV has signed an exclusive three-year deal with Major League Baseball to stream games live in China, Hong Kong and Macau.
MLB and the Chinese company announced the deal on Wednesday at CES in Las Vegas. It is professional baseball’s first major media agreement in the fast-growing China market.
Le Sports, LeTV’s expanding sports division, will hold exclusive media rights in China to broadcast 125 MLB games per season, along with Mandarin-language MLB programming, through its Internet platform, mobile applications and OTT Devices.
The companies said the planned 125-game streaming lineup includes: four HD games per week during the regular season, 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 rebroadcast those games through video on demand.
“This historic partnership with Le Sports exemplifies Major League Baseball’s diversified approach to serving international communities,” said MLB Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr., adding: “China is a crucial frontier for the development of baseball. Our new, prominent place on Le Sports platforms both reaffirms and expands our commitment to growing the game in China.”
Besides broadcasting games, Le Sports also will create an online community for 30 MLB clubs and cultivate youth interest in the sport by broadcasting games from the Beijing University Baseball League and Shanghai University Baseball League, along with MLB Play Ball! Youth Program games.
Le Sports is a growing player in online sports broadcasting. It holds rights to over 200 sports and also organizes events. Its other exclusive deals include Chinese streaming rights to Wimbledon from 2016-2018 and the English Premier League in Hong Kong from 2016-2019.
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