NEW YORK: Major League Baseball (MLB) and Star Sports India Monday announced a new multi-year broadcast agreement to air every game of the 2020 and 2021 World Series live across India.
In addition to now holding the exclusive pay TV rights to the Fall Classic, Star Sports, the leading sports broadcaster in India, will also broadcast new baseball content created specifically for Indian audiences on a weekly basis. In addition, the broadcast agreement includes rights to regular season games in 2021.
With this agreement, the 2020 World Series will be broadcast worldwide across 220 countries and territories, by 75 media partners in 15 languages.
“Star Sports is a sports broadcasting leader not only in India but throughout Asia,” said Dominick Balsamo, MLB senior vice-president, Global Media. “As we continue to develop the sport and work to grow MLB fandom in India, there is no better partner than Star Sports to showcase the athleticism, intensity and drama that will be on display at the World Series.”
The three shows scheduled to run on Star during the 2021 season are MLB Weekly, MLB Extra and MLB’s Best. MLB Weekly sets out to educate, inform and entertain new fans of the sport in India. Presented by influential Indian photographer Rohan Shrestha, the show brings the Indian fan base all the latest MLB action every week while educating new fans on all the teams, the brightest stars and the basics of baseball. MLB Extra features extended highlights of three select games from the previous week with Shrestha introducing each game, letting fans know which players to watch out for and what the landscape of the league looks like. MLB’s Best, a program for more avid MLB fans, offers a countdown of the week’s best plays.
“We are excited to have baseball in our bouquet of international sports. The live telecast of World Series is a great opportunity for us to present this dynamic sport to the discerning premium audience of Star Sports SELECT,” said a Star Sports spokesperson.
The new relationship with Star Sports adds to MLB’s increased efforts to grow baseball in India through media partnerships and grassroots initiatives. MLB opened its first Indian office in 2019 in New Delhi to help grow the game across the country through fan engagement and baseball development.
Million Dollar Arm, the contest that originally began as a reality TV show organized by J.B. Bernstein and was the basis of the 2014 movie of the same name, will return in 2021. The contest saw thousands of participants compete to earn a tryout with a Major League team.
MLB First Pitch, a grassroots program, has been introduced for primary school children in 300 schools across New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai. The program creates the first opportunity for students to learn and enjoy the sport through workshops conducted by MLB International coaches.
Sports management company India On Track (IOT), is partnering with MLB to expand and market the MLB First Pitch program.