MLB, MLBPA finalize broadcast plans for esports league

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have finalized plans to show concluding matches from its newly formed esports initiative, The MLB: The Show Players League, on four different US sports television networks.

The player-driven esports effort, developed and initiated earlier this month, will have its final 10 days of competition shown on ESPN, ESPN2, FS1, and the league’s own MLB Network, starting April 23. All four networks are existing MLB rightsholders.

MLB Network will show select regular-season matchups, while an eight-player playoff tournament will be aired beginning May 1 on ESPN, ESPN2, and FS1. The best-of-five championship series will be shown May 3 on ESPN. 

The MLB: The Show Players League will generate a total $175,000 donation to official MLB charities the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada.

The baseball effort is just one of a quickly accelerating push across the entire sports industry to create new esports content, often involving real-world players, amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and resulting hiatus of most major sports leagues around the world.

Other properties pursuing similar initiatives include Nascar, Major League Soccer, National Hockey League, the National Basketball Association, LaLiga, Formula 1Monumental Sports & Entertainment, IndyCarMajor League Rugby, and the English Premier League, among others.