Thursday, March 16, 2006

MLB and NASN sign five-year deal

On Tuesday Major League Baseball and the North American Sports Network announced that they that reached an agreement for the channel to broadcast up to 275 live games a year over the next five years. They have broadcasted up to 250 games a year for the past three years but now they have added 25 games and more importantly have the rights to show the World Series live.

This news has received a mixed response from baseball fans in Europe. On the one hand it is great that a channel has shown such commitment to the game but it is tinged with sadness as most of the fans from this side of the pond have been brought up on a diet of channel five coverage with the studio coverage fronted by the excellent Jonny Gould. Five have yet to confirm they have the rights to Sunday Night Baseball (the nationally televised ESPN game) but the producer of the show has stated that the channel will be showing the weekly games as per usual.

NASN Europe now shows all four major US Sports and NASCAR as well as NCAA Football and Basketball, NASN in the UK shows all that except live NFL which is still shown on Sky Sports. I do subscribe to the channel and don't mind the extra few quid a month to see games but in all honesty I watch most games via NASN however is value for money with the extra programs including Baseball Tonight, Around the Horn and my new favourite new PTI.

The future of the Major Leagues in Europe is secure with this multi-country deal and hopefully they can help promote the sport but it needs a home on the terrestrial networks. Should the World Series not be on Five anymore and the game isn't broadcast on any free to air channels then baseball will never make it as a popular sport in the United Kingdom and across Europe.

Whilst this deal is exciting for the baseball fan, it is worrying for those hoping to move the sport more into the mainstream in this region.

2 threw a strike:

At 11:47 am, Blogger DANNDANN said...

There has been a report that Five has got the ESPN sunday night game - look at the five baseball forum for confirmation.

Long live Johnny G!

At 1:10 pm, Blogger Neil M said...

I can confirm that Five have a deal - I'll be blogging about it later today.

Agreed totally Re: Gouldie, he is the man!


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