Le Sports smashes a home run with MLB

Updated: 2016-01-08 08:09

By China Daily(China Daily)

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Le Sports and Major League Baseball have announced a strategic partnership that makes China's top Internet-based eco-sports company an official partner of MLB on China's mainland as well as Hong Kong and Macao for a three-year period.

Highlighted by live streaming of MLB games in China for the first time, the deal was announced in Las Vegas on Wednesday by a group headed by MLB commissioner Robert D. Manfred and Le Sports CEO Lei Zhenjian".

As part of the first mass market MLB media agreement in China, Le Sports will hold exclusive media rights in China to broadcast 125 MLB games per season, along with Mandarin-language MLB programming, through its Internet platform, mobile applications, and OTT devices.

The 125-game lineup includes four HD games per week during the regular season (96 games in total), 20 HD postseason games, the All-Star Game, Home Run Derby, and all World Series games.

"By working with MLB in China over the past three years on events, we saw just how appealing the league is to Chinese families, and how popular the games and players have become to young sports fans in China," said Lei. "We are excited to expand and extend our partnership with MLB."

Le Sports will also invest significant marketing resources and leverage its unique digital device ecosystem to promote baseball.

"We are thrilled to bring even more baseball to Chinese fans as this sport becomes so much more popular to the Chinese people," Lei said.

Manfred echoed that enthusiasm, stating: "This historic partnership with Le Sports exemplifies Major League Baseball's diversified approach to serving international communities. We are delighted to showcase games in Mandarin throughout the distinctive, ever-growing ecosystem of Le Sports devices and apps.

"China is a crucial frontier for the development of baseball. Our new, prominent place on Le Sports platforms both reaffirms and expands our commitment to growing the game in China."

Besides broadcasting games, Le Sports will establish an online community for the MLB clubs and become a central portal for Chinese fans to connect more deeply with their favorite teams, from supporting MLB live events to merchandise purchases.

Le Sports will continue as a co-producer of MLB Perfect Pitch, a baseball reality show, and also will broadcast games from the MLB University League games from Beijing and Shanghai and MLB Play Ball! youth games.

"Baseball is a sport of 'coming home', which matches our traditional Chinese family values perfectly," said Gao Fei, Chairman of Le Sports.

"MLB has focused on working through local education and communities to influence more youth to play baseball. We will provide an enhanced viewing experience to Chinese fans, and encourage more families and young people to play and enjoy this amazing sport."

The partnership with MLB is the latest significant achievement of Le Sports, and adds to other exclusive deals, including Wimbledon from 2016-18, the English Premier League in Hong Kong from 2016-19, as well as the five-year global partnership with the ATP.

 Le Sports smashes a home run with MLB

Le Sports CEO Lei Zhenjian and MLB commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. shake hands in Las Vegas on Wednesday after announcing Major League Baseball games will be streamed live to China for the first time under a three-year agreement with Le Sports. Provided To China Daily

Le Sports smashes a home run with MLB

(China Daily 01/08/2016 page23)