By Nick Butler

MP & Silva has signed a major deal with the WBSC for the first two editions ©MP & SilvaInternational media rights company MP & Silva have acquired global media and sponsorship rights for the first two editions of the Premier 12 baseball competition, it has been announced. 

Following an agreement with the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), the London-based company have exclusive global media and sponsorship rights for the new event, billed is the "new flagship pro baseball World Championships".

It will feature national teams from the world's 12 most powerful baseball nations and is set to become the highest-ranked international competition in the sport.

MP & Silva will distribute the 2015 and 2019 editions across all media platforms, with the first-ever Premier 12 set for November 2015.

"This is a great day for The Premier 12 and the WBSC to partner with MP & Silva on delivering this new flagship international tournament to the millions of fans worldwide who want to follow and support their favourite national teams on a global stage," said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari.

"Partnering with MP & Silva represents a major coup for The Premier 12 and immediately raises the profile and marketability of The Premier 12 brand ahead of its rolling out next year."

MP & Silva chief executive Marco Auletta added: "We are extremely delighted to add the Premier 12 to MP & Silva's portfolio and enter into this new partnership with WBSC.

"Our distribution of the World Baseball Classic 2013 enjoyed unprecedented success for global distribution and viewership, and we aim to surpass those targets with this exciting new property.

"WBSC sanctioned international baseball competitions, such as the inaugural Premier 12, are sports properties that continue to gain in prestige and attractiveness to broadcasters, commercial partners and spectators.

"We foresee an accelerating trend of positive audience growth and commercialisation of international baseball content in traditional markets across the Americas and Asia, as well as new and emerging markets, such as Europe and the Middle East."

This latest acquisition adds to a lengthy portfolio of events showcased by the company since it was set up in 2004, along with FIFA World Cup rights and those for various European football leagues, as well as Grand Slam tennis, motor racing, handball, the Asian Games and more.

MP & Silva held the rights for the Incheon 2014 Asian Games, where South Korea beat Taiwan in the baseball final  ©Getty ImagesMP & Silva held the rights for the Incheon 2014 Asian Games, where South Korea beat Taiwan in the baseball final ©Getty Images

The 12 participants in the inaugural event will include the world's top three ranked nations, Japan, United States and Cuba, as well as Taiwan, The Netherlands, Dominican Republic, Canada, South Korea, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Italy and Mexico.

It is set to further raise the profile of the sport further in international markets at a time when baseball is looking to capitalise on the outcomes of the Agenda 2020 reform process - due to be finalised at next week's Extraordinary International Olympic Committee Session in Monte Carlo - and return to the Olympic stage at Tokyo 2020.

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