10/07/2008 11:04 AM ET
MLB Network to televise 2009 World Baseball Classic
Network to launch nightly show dedicated to World Baseball Classic
MLB Network will televise 16 World Baseball Classic games this Spring along with a nightly studio show dedicated to the world's premier international baseball tournament.
The World Baseball Classic, the world's premier international baseball tournament, will feature the world's best players representing 16 countries and territories, and will be played in seven different venues in five nations and territories from March 5 - 23.
World Baseball Classic Tonight, which will debut in late February, will feature highlights, analysis, feature stories and special reports on the tournament, its teams, players and coaches. MLB Network also will air the World Baseball Classic Selection Show, a studio show reporting on the announcement of the rosters.
"The acquisition of the World Baseball Classic demonstrates our commitment to airing big events and showcasing a wide variety of baseball programming," said Tony Petitti, MLB Network President and CEO. "With game broadcasts and studio programming dedicated to the World Baseball Classic, MLB Network will provide in-depth coverage to all of the action and stories of the ultimate global baseball tournament."
"MLB Network's coverage of the World Baseball Classic is a perfect example of how the network will be able to provide a unique perspective, expanded coverage, and studio analysis of an event that baseball fans are passionate about," said Bob DuPuy, Major League Baseball President and Chief Operating Officer.
"MLB Network's association with the World Baseball Classic adds an exciting new dimension to the coverage of the Classic, already the premier international baseball event in the world," stated Gene Orza, Major League Baseball Players Association Chief Operating Officer. "What is particularly exciting is the knowledge that, with the team it has assembled, MLB Network's history is bound to be a memorable one, and the World Baseball Classic will have been there at the beginning."
The opening round of the 2009 tournament will begin on March 5 and will be played entirely outside of the 50 United States, with Pool A (China, Chinese Taipei, Japan and Korea) competing at the Tokyo Dome, home to the Yomiuri Giants of the Nippon Pro Baseball league; Pool B (Australia, Cuba, Mexico and South Africa) at Estadio Foro Sol in Mexico City, Mexico, home to the Mexico City Red Devils of the Mexican League; Pool C (Canada, Italy, United States and Venezuela) at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada, MLB regular season home to the Toronto Blue Jays; and Pool D (Dominican Republic, Netherlands, Panama and Puerto Rico) at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
In the opening round, MLB Network will air the entire Mexico City pool, three games from the Toronto pool, and two games from the San Juan pool.
Round Two games will be played in PETCO Park, home of the San Diego Padres, and Dolphin Stadium, home of the Florida Marlins. The four advancing teams from Pools A and B will compete in San Diego from March 15 - 19, and the four teams emerging from Pools C and D will contend in Miami from March 14 - 18. MLB Network will air one game from San Diego and four games from Miami.
About MLB Network
Projected to launch in approximately 50 million cable and satellite homes on Jan. 1, 2009, MLB Network will be the largest and most successful debut in cable television history, exceeding any other cable television launch by approximately 20 million. With live games, original programming, highlights, classic games, and coverage of baseball events, MLB Network will be the ultimate destination for baseball fans on television.
About World Baseball Classic, Inc.
World Baseball Classic, Inc. 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 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. In March 2006, 486 players - 235 of them from MLB organizations - representing 16 teams from across the globe competed in the inaugural event. More than 740,000 fans from 48 states and 15 countries attended games - 16 of which sold out - and millions more watched on TV as Team Japan was crowned the first-ever World Baseball Classic Champion. Broadcast by 48 media outlets in 10 languages to 205 countries and territories around the world, the inaugural tournament had 50 official sponsors and 21 official licensees. Media members representing 25 different nations attended the 39 games in seven host venues across three countries/territories. The next tournament will be held in March 2009 and will again feature 16 of the greatest baseball-playing nations in the world. The tournament will be held every four years thereafter, with plans in place to expand the participant field beginning in 2013.