ESPN will once again broadcast the World Baseball Classic, although now only in Spanish. The network inked the exclusive Spanish-language media rights for the tournament's next two installments in 2013 and 2017.
Under the agreement, ESPN Deportes will provide comprehensive coverage as the Spanish-language home for both events, with live telecasts of all 39 games beginning with the three opening games on Saturday, March 2. ESPN will, however, broadcast the games in both Spanish and English over the radio on ESPN Deportes Radio and ESPN Radio.
ESPN held the exclusive English-language rights for the tournament's first installment in 2006 and joint rights with MLB Network in 2009. It surrendered full broadcast rights to MLB Network for the next two tournaments in 2013 and 2017.
"We have been the Spanish-language home of the World Baseball Classic since it started in 2006, and we are thrilled to be once again work with World Baseball Classic Inc. to continue bringing coverage of the event," said Lino Garcia, GM of ESPN Deportes. "Baseball is one of the most followed sports among the U.S. Hispanic market and the success of the 2006 and 2009 tournaments on ESPN Deportes proved this is a must-see event for these emerging, passionate fans. In addition, our coverage across ESPN Audio strengthens our extensive baseball content for our listeners on both ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes."
The 2013 WBC will take place from March 2-19 and features an expanded field. The WBC was created in 2005 in response to the International Olympic Committee's decision to remove baseball from the list of Summer Olympic events. It is sanctioned by International Baseball Federation and is organized partly by the MLB and MLBPA.