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06/01/2009 12:35 PM ET
Major League Baseball International renews four broadcast agreements and signs one new television deal
MLBI extends deal with Dentsu to broadcast MLB games in Japan; TV Asahi, TV TOKYO and J SPORTS to air MLB games for first time. Meridiano Television, DirecTV Latin America and Rogers Sportsnet renew agreements. Australia's Network Ten joins MLBI as new television partner
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Major League Baseball International today announced it has renewed broadcast agreements with four rightsholders from around the world: Dentsu, Meridiano Television, DirecTV Latin America and Rogers Sportsnet. In addition, MLBI has reached a deal with Network Ten in Australia to broadcast games.

"There is tremendous passion for baseball around the world," said Paul Archey, Senior Vice President, International Business Operations, Major League Baseball. "By entering into these agreements to broadcast games internationally, Major League Baseball and its partners continue to make MLB content available globally and demonstrate our commitment to promote and grow the game of baseball."

The renewal with Dentsu will run through the 2015 season and will make the television and radio rightsholder in Japan the longest-running MLBI media partner. Television networks that will air MLB games in Japan during the 2009 Championship Season per rights granted through sub-licensing agreements with Dentsu include Japan Broadcasting Corporation, Tokyo Broadcasting System Television Inc., Fuji Television Network Inc., TV Asahi Corporation, TV TOKYO Corporation and J SPORTS Broadcasting Corporation. This will be the first time TV Asahi Corporation, TV TOKYO Corporation and J SPORTS Broadcasting Corporation will telecast MLB games in Japan. MLB 2009 Opening Day rosters included 13 Japanese-born players in the Major Leagues.

As part of the agreement with Meridiano Television, MLB fans throughout Venezuela will be able to see up to eight live MLB games per week, in addition to extensive coverage of the MLB All-Star Game, Division Series, League Championship Series and World Series. MLB 2009 Opening Day rosters featured 52 Venezuelan-born players in the Major Leagues, second most of any foreign country.

DirecTV Latin America will provide fans in Venezuela with up to four games per week on their basic tier and up to 16 games per week on their extended tier. In addition, DirecTV Latin America will offer MLB fans the MLB EXTRA INNINGS package in certain parts of the Caribbean and South America.

MLBI reached a five-year extension with Rogers Sportsnet to be the exclusive Canadian television broadcaster of the State Farm Home Run Derby, MLB All-Star Game and MLB Postseason. Rogers Sportsnet has announced that it will carry at least 250 games each year. MLB 2009 Opening Day rosters featured 13 Canadian-born players in the Major Leagues.

MLBI reached a new agreement in Australia with Network Ten to broadcast no fewer than three live regular season games per week, "This Week In Baseball" presented by Pepsi and the MLB Postseason on their recently-launched, free-to-air digital sports network, ONE. MLB 2009 Opening Day rosters included three Australian-born players in the Major Leagues.

These agreements come on the heels of the 2009 World Baseball Classic, which was televised by 60 media outlets in nine languages to 229 countries and territories around the world. The event set several records in attendance, viewership and sponsorship, demonstrating the global appeal of the world's premier international baseball tournament. Across 39 games, 801,408 fans came out to support their National Teams, surpassing the 2006 World Baseball Classic total of 740,451 (an increase of more than eight percent). ESPN's nine telecasts averaged 1,616,000 viewers (up 14 percent) and a 1.3 rating (up eight percent). Fifty-seven companies sponsored the World Baseball Classic globally or regionally - more than double the number of partners from the inaugural tournament (26).

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