Less than a week after ESPN’s negotiations to acquire broadcast rights to Korea Baseball Organization games were reported to be all but dead, Jee-ho Yoo and Chang-yong Shin of South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency now report that a deal is nearing completion. Yoo reported last week that ESPN had sought to acquire broadcast rights from Korean counterpart Eclat without any up-front payment — ultimately offering only a percentage of revenue if broadcasts proved profitable — despite the increased production costs for Eclat.
Additional details remain sparse at this time, though the Yonhap duo adds that the deal being discussed would allow ESPN to broadcast multiple KBO contests per week. South Korea’s 10-team league is slated to begin its regular season on May 5 — a bit more than five weeks after the initially scheduled season opener on March 28. The KBO season will begin without fans, although MBC’s Daniel Kim tweets that the league is discussing a plan to gradually allow fans back into stadiums, beginning with a 20-25 percent capacity and incrementally increasing from there.
[Related — Poll: would you watch KBO broadcasts?]
Several health regulations will be in place for players and gameday personnel as well (multiple tests per player prior to games, no spitting allowed, players and personnel in masks throughout the stadium except on the field/in the dugout, gloves and masks for umpires, strong discouragement of handshakes and high-fives). A player showing symptoms of COVID-19 will be immediately be tested and quarantined, while his stadium would be subject to a 48-hour closure for cleaning. A positive test from a player wouldn’t necessarily shut down the league but would prompt an immediate meeting between owners, league officials and health experts about the potential stoppage of play.
There’s still no concrete plan for when Major League Baseball can attempt to resume play (or whether it definitively will). The lack of baseball and other professional sports has been an obvious enormous strain not only on ESPN but all sports media outlets throughout the world. ESPN’s interest in airing some KBO play, then, isn’t surprising — but it’s also not without risk. Some sports-starved fans will surely flock to any competitive play, but there’s no guarantee on the extent of fan interest, and advertisers could be wary paying a hefty rate for an untested product in the United States.
For baseball fans, though, it’s an easy win — creating a readily accessible means of viewing one of the world’s top professional leagues and even offering a chance to see a handful of former big leaguers suiting up overseas. MLBTR ran through more than 30 former Major Leaguers who are set to play out the 2020 season in the KBO last week.
very nice, very nice. ill tune in a few times at least.
YAY LIVE BASEBALL! WE HAVE MORE THAN JUST AN MLB THE SHOW TOURNAMENT!!!
You know you could have played the game yourself instead of just watching, play the whole 2020 season.
Can they do voice over by Chris and Victor from Most Extreme Elimination Challenge?
lol best show
Comment of the year. KBO is basically MXC baseball anyway
KBO is better than MXC baseball, dude.
Gotta get that Volcano High dub team.
They need to do voice overs for the players too when they are having a meeting on the mound.
Dont get eliminated! let’s get it on!
Don’t get eliminated!! (From the playoff hunt)
Who is Chris and Victor? Kenny Blankenship and Vic Romano…?
Victor Wilson and Christopher Darga, the voices for the show.
That will be more boring than the XFL
thor would look better in red
keep not watching it then…
Liked the XFL. Bummed to see it fold.
Let’s go Dinos!!!
Kia Tigers baby! Went to one of their games in 2018 and saw Roger Bernadina go 3-5 with 2 bombs. Most fun I’ve ever had at a baseball game
I’d watch each and every game.
Minor league baseball sucks and they is what we would be getting. I miss mlb
Cool, don’t watch then. Go watch reruns on espn classics or youtube.
Don’t watch ESPN games anyway. Announcers are boring and way to many in game interview’s as well as some chick anouncer. I’m doing fine not watching baseball right now
Surprised someone like you even misses the MLB when they don’t like baseball
The title of this article should be; LIvE BASEBALL!!! LIVE BASEBALL!!! LIVE BASEBALL!!!
What’s the time difference with South Korea?
if a game in Seoul starts at 7 PM local time that would be 6 AM eastern time
Regular season games usually start at 6:30 pm korean time
Woot woot. 430 am mountain time can’t wait to get up nice and early to watch
its called DVR dude
If people like this league, ESPN could theoretically keep playing these. Not going to interrupt any American sports at that hour. Live baseball with morning coffee and the ride into work. I could deal with that!
ESPN will have to deal with adjusting our air time for sure….
What is this sorcery?
Good. A-Rod needs the income so he can buy the Mets.
Yeah. Because even though he alone earned >$500M (2019-converted dollars) in just guaranteed player contracts and she probably out-earned him, they have a combined net worth estimated at only ~$700M.
You do realize net worth entails things like property (houses, cars, boats), investments they already made, etc. and is not solely a lump sum of cash they have sitting around in some off shore tax haven bank right?
Idk how much money they actually have to put towards purchasing the mets, but it’s not 700 mill.
I have it o the BEST authority (Jon Heyman) that both he and Jay-Lo have pledged their stimulus checks……
I may be taking this comment too seriously, but A-Rod and J-Lo definitely won’t be the primary contributors to any potential bid. They would be minority owners in an ownership group, like Jeter is.
You’re probably right. But I think I heard Jeter paid 25 million for his share of the Marlins. If they wanted to go 500 million in, they would own 25-30% of the team. Still minority, but not 5% like Jeter.
Alright, Flexen and Altherr were both Mets, but Altherr better known for his time in Philly. Doosan Bears it is!
No love for Drew Gagnon and the KIA Tigers?!
The KIA Tigers deserve no love.
They should’ve called themselves the KIA Spectras, KIA Stingers, KIA Rays or KIA Hamster-mobiles — er… I mean Souls.
Even KIA RIOs would have been better.
Of all the precautions that they’re gonna take, no spitting is easily going to be the toughest to prevent. Spitting and baseball are synonymous. I know I couldn’t do it…
Correction: In Western baseball. While I can’t say how it is in Korea, that kind of thing will be entire intra-cultural.
Chewing tobacco was never a thing outside of the Americas (and mostly just the US and the most US-influenced areas of the rest of the Americas).
Doubt this works as intended. The pressure to pass health tests, hide/ suppress symptoms, and keep it going despite who gets sick will be tremendous. The article implies it will be monitored by the teams and leagues.
It could work if third party agencies did the testing.
It only offers the pretense of being safe. Sadly, MLB will follow this same crappy model.
I would be surprised if MLB followed the same model. There are few deeper American traditions than refusing to think someone else’s model might possibly work in the US.
Rather, the insistence to refuse all other models causes lot of other problems — including two of the issues with the US’ outbreak (1. refusing to acknowledge other already-existent tests were better than anything they were still in early-stage testing, 2. Refusing to implement any kind of working social controls models before it was found to be deep in the community and mass quarantines were necessary).
What virus? You know this is just the government’s way of taking control of your life.
I rather watch Tom Selleck Mr Baseball !
but would you watch the KBO over “Bad News Bears Go To Japan”?
Heck no! I don’ like to watch any sports starts with Japan… They sound so weak..
“everybody learning to throw shuutos”
I’m not watching. How does ESPN expect us to to get engaged? We want MLB
You do know this is the only option, right?
This could prove to be a long term winner for everyone. Looking forward to this.
Baseball! This sounds great to me. I will be watching. I have always been curious to see professional baseball in Asia. Awesome news.
I’ve been watching KBO for about 5-6 years now. It’s a lot of fun and the league is small so you get to know the players fairly quickly. The quality of pitching and defense can be low but the hitters are awesome. Managers make a lot of moves with pinch hitters and runners. It’s cool. Trouble is the games are 530amET first pitch.
Sounds like fun. I wouldn’t mind seeing some offense. I live in Southern California. 2:30 AM starts aren’t really watchable live but I will be taping the games.
Thrills. While people miss MLB, most who watch do so because of rooting or gambling interests (including fantasy). Outside of watching a portion to see the level of the play, not many will watch.
Are the Doosan Bears favored? They won 3 of the last 5 championships.
Doosan must be the team of dominator such as Dodgers Yankees Redsox in KBO.
Ps. Doosan is the big company which owes Bobcat
I’m excited for this. Would love to see more of the international competition and real live baseball is better than no baseball.
giants number 1 fan
I couldn’t think of much that would bore me more than to watch a foreign league without fans in the stands.
lol who is gonna wake up in the middle of the night to watch AA baseball
ever hear of DVR?
lol who is gonna DVR AA baseball
I’ll be watching, as will millions more of avid baseball fans. You act as if we have some other sports to watch.
Now run along.
i recommend a hobby if you’re that desperate for sport
I think this is great! Obviously it’s not the same as real MLB games — and we’re either going to have to watch the games at 6 in the morning or a rerun later on in the day… But it’ll still be cool to have live/current baseball going on to watch. And it will be cool to be able to see the former MLB players and also possible future ones on TV for a change! Who knows someone having a good start to their season could even catch the eye of evaluators and wind up coming stateside when they might otherwise have never garnered the attention!
Kia Tigers baby! Went to one of their games in 2018 and saw Roger Bernadina go 3-5 with 2 bombs. Most fun I’ve ever had at a baseball game
This would be a nice diversion. I hope they’ll make the effort to show the area near the stadiums and spend some time talking about things that make each home city unique. It would also be fun if they explained some of the game routines, interesting ball park food. After all, how much does the average American know about Good Korea ? Putting some real research into the broadcast. Could be very interesting.
Dae Ho Lee Lotte Giants and Seung Hwan Oh Samsung Lions., then there’s Jose Fernandez of Doosan Bears, and Mel Rojas Jr of KT Wiz. I’ve already been watching their pre season and it has been good, along with watching CPBL in Taiwan. The clarity of both broadcasts is excellent.
Watching any baseball at this time is excellent if you really love the game of baseball, and it’s much better than any other garbage available on TV or the lies of the lamestream media..
Sid whaat are you using to watch these games?
Send me an email at Sid.Bream@mail.com and I will reply to you there.
I’ve never been excited to watch the KBO. That’s all, nothing has changed.
I am excited to watch LIVE baseball. That’s all. And we can learn how they cope with this pandemic season. Also, love to see how fans react to their teams in Korea; should be interesting to watch both fans and players.
Does anyone still have ESPN? Everyone has Netflix, Disney Plus, and Amazon. Cable and DirecTV are about done.
And yes I realize there are streaming services ranging from $20-100 a month.
I am excited to see this live baseball game. ESPN, make it happen! We will be gladly pay for your subscription!!!!
While I like the premise, I don’t like the panic. The story is just breaking wide this week.
The vast majority of deaths associated with COVID19 may be persons that were critical to begin with. COVID19 just tipped the scales on them. Influenza would’ve done that too. Govt offficials told the workers to associate as many deaths as possible to the virus to increase the disaster funds the state & local govts would get.
What we do know is that a small % of healthy persons who get COVID19 suffer a critiical allergic reaction where their immune system goes haywire. Treating that condition vs COVID19 itself has shown the most success. Because the deaths are heavily weighted
towards males, control groups are being established to see if estrogen can better regulate
the immune systems of males in this group. Some of those persons might venture to a game but certainly none of the persons who are already critical or super high risk will.
It’s wrong then for the KBO or MLB to freak & go into panic mode just because some players might test positive. Because players are very healthy, they could be in a super group. These are persons with highly regulated immune systems that are precise in their attack on viruses. They might not suffer any symptoms because their systems are quick to produce an ample number of virus killing cells & antibodies. The blood plasma from this super group is the best treatment for persons who go critical.
Govts world over have all but ignored the task of finding these people and getting them to donate blood plasma or blood in general. That means tracking down the recovered persons & testing their saturation of SARS-CoV-2 driven antibodies & virus killing cells.
Those with a great level have blood so valuable you can argue making their donations
We stayed at home primarily to preserve our fragile healthcare system. Otherwise it may have been overrun with COVID19 critical cases & put all other cases on the backburner. That would’ve been disastrous as 1000’s would’ve died from non COVID19 causes.
That should not be a concern of sports leagues.
Stadiums are a controlled environment & if the KBO & MLB make it clear to fans they should only attend if they have not suffered any cold or flu symptoms in the past 4 months. they will wind up with a tigiht control group to watch the game. Even more so,
the govt can make an offer to pay for their admission if
1) they submit to testing 2) test positive,
3) show an ample supply of virus killers in their blood,
4) agree to donate their blood.
Even if they test negative, the govt can offer a free future admission if they agree to be part of a control group. That group would be infected, heavily monitored & even have their immune system manipulated to produce ample numbers of virus killing cells & antibodies.
The idea that we can stomp out a virus that is 2x as robust and contagious as influenza was never realistic no matter how long we stay home. We must now focus on building
our immunity against it. That requires a controlled spread.
Can’t wait to see Twins legend Byung Ho Park hit some massive dingers!
There are at least 2 social groups forming on this & they are opposed.
On the left it’s all about waiting it out, hoping for a vaccine or the rates of contraction drop to “safe” numbers. They clearly don’t give a crap about the wheels of capitalism or sports & prefer to live/play at home on govt checks. When Singapore, arguably the best manager of the virus, reported 900 new cases this week, this group looks more looney. This SARS virus is too robust to think a “safe” number can be reached.
On the right it’s about “give me the virus” & let me gain my immunity. There are plenty of doctors in this group that think short of a vaccine a controlled transmission group can work to bring about “herd” immunity. The idea is that they inject an extremely small about of blood plasma that contains virus killing cells, antibodies, & this SARS virus. Just enough so your own immune system can learn how to produce it’s own virus killing entities.
That greatly reduces the odds you will develop COVID19 as your immune system goes to war vs the virus. If your immune system is up to par vs this virus, you will produce your own virus killing cells, antibodies, etc. within 2 weeks.
A more extensive blood test can reveal whether your immune system has produced enough to certify your immunity. If so, the govt is definitely going to want you to donate your blood bi-monthly to help those who do suffer from COVID19.
Immunity doesn’t just protect you. If you’re immune any one getting the virus from you will also become immune because it’s impossible to transmit the virus without the virus killers in you. They can be found in your blood, sweat, tears, spit, & even your breath.
One of the worst things the WHO did was to say there is no evidence of immunity. The only ones to test positive again for the virus (including S Korea) are persons who were critical the first time. With over 3.1M cases, & no repeat positives amongst those who suffered at most mild symptoms, there is ample evidence of immunity.
So both the KBO & MLB should be the first sports leagues to step up to the plate and opt for controlled transmission to gain immunity for the season. These employees are predominantly finely tuned athletes with strong immune systems so there should be little risk exposure to the virus will produce COVID19 in them. Their nations need their blood/plasma. Imagine how the world would react if these two leagues were to do this now & report in mid May their employees are immune. They can be the first to earn immunity certification & go where they please.
I think 10’s of millions of people would opt for it. Demand would be so high, they would need a lottery type system to manage it. Hotels & such which aren’t be used now could become staging grounds for the control.