ESPN to broadcast Korean baseball league games

“Baseball is baseball”

With the cancellation of the MLB and all other major American sports, ESPN is beginning to go abroad for its content. Starting May 5th, they will officially be televising South Korea’s Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) games throughout the 2020 season. 

ESPN will directly broadcast 6 regular-season games per week. The agreement to broadcast the games also contains the league’s playoffs and a best-of-7 season championship series. ESPN’s normal baseball commentators will be announcing the games remotely.

“We have a long-standing history of documenting the game of baseball and we’re excited to deliver these live events to sports fans,” said Burke Magnus, executive vice president of ESPN programming, in an interview with ESPN.

With South Korea being 16 hours ahead of Los Angeles, the timing of the games will certainly be interesting. The first game, on Tuesday, was scheduled for 2 pm in South Korea and 10 pm on the west coast.

Even though the situation in South Korea is currently more under control than the US, the games will nonetheless be played without fans in attendance.

“I’ll definitely be watching,” said Oak Park Varsity baseball player Ty Viane. “Baseball is baseball … with no MLB, why not?”

Although some fans would love to watch a professional baseball game again, the time schedule is certainly something to consider.

“If the games were in the afternoon, I would definitely watch live. But it seems too late to stay up for teams and players I’m not too familiar with,” said Oak Park Varsity baseball player Cole Murth. “I’ll probably end up recording them instead of watching it live but it’s still a great thing to see happen.”

Major league stars and organizations have voiced their support for the KBO, such as Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts and the World Series champs, the Washington Nationals (via Twitter). 

“Welcome back KBO, We’re all watching!” Betts wrote on Twitter.

Despite the KBO not being very well known, several current MLB players played in the league at one point. Additionally, many players out of the big leagues use it as a stepping stone to reestablish themselves. Players such as former Phillies outfielder Aaron Altherr, former Orioles pitcher Mike Wright, and more former players find themselves playing in the KBO. Many young MLB prospects also come from the league.

Although it is not the MLB, broadcasting the KBO is certainly a step in the right direction for sports fans amidst a global pandemic.