Major League Baseball is looking East. It just announced a deal with China’s biggest most prominent company, Tencent, to stream 125 games this year. It joins other sports franchises such as the NBA, NFL, and NHL. These teams are looking to tap into nearly 1 billion new users.
Plenty Of Baseball
New fans have the potential to watch streamed games on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. In addition, the platform will also stream the All-Star Game, postseason games, the World Series, and a weekly highlight show.
New Fans, New Players
In recent years, baseball has developed rapidly in China. Major League Baseball has been actively promoting the game for over a decade. It opened up its first office in China in 2007. Then, launched three development centers in the country to help hone Chinese talent. Numerous players from the development centers have gone on to play college baseball in the U.S., China, Taiwan, and Korea. Some have even competed on the China National Team and in the Chinese Baseball League. Currently, three graduates of the centers have signed major league contracts. They are Itchy” Xu Guiyan with the Baltimore Orioles, Hai-Cheng Gong with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Justin Qiangba with the Boston Red Sox. However, currently none are active members of those teams.
More than 40 new baseball facilities have been built since 2017. As part of the deal with Tencent, the league’s youth baseball and development events will also be streamed.
Tencent Is Overtaking The Sports World
Tencent continues to work with the world’s top sports leagues. Currently, they are securing rights for:
- Winter sports