Taiwan's premier sports network Videoland has been awarded broadcast rights in the country for the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Premier12 event which is set to debut later this year, it has been announced.
The event, scheduled to take place in Japan and Taiwan from November 8 to 21, will be the top international baseball event of the year offering a multi-million dollar purse and considerable world ranking points.
It will bring together the men's professional national teams from the top 12 countries in the WBSC baseball world rankings for the first time ever.
The agreement sees cable network Videoland become the host broadcaster and producer for all 33 Premier12 opening round and quarter-finals matches taking place in Taiwan across four venues; Taichung Intercontinental Stadium, Taoyuan International Stadium, Tien-Mou Stadium and Dou-Liou Stadium.
Videoland will be overseeing the largest-ever broadcast production - up to six Premier12 Championship games per day with simulcast coverage - of any major sporting event ever staged in Taiwan.
"WBSC is thrilled to partner with Videoland on this landmark agreement and exciting undertaking," said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari.
"With Taiwan's top sports network serving as the host broadcaster, viewers worldwide will be guaranteed the most comprehensive, innovative and highest quality coverage that showcases the world's top 12 nations battling on the WBSC Premier12 global baseball stage."
Videoland President Jay Cheng added: "Videoland is honoured to have been entrusted with WBSC's new crown jewel product.
"The production of the WBSC Premier12 will represent the largest-scale operation in Videoland's history, and this agreement also ensures that Videoland's programming will exclusively feature the live, premium content that is in high demand by audiences across Taiwan.
"With Premier12, Videoland expects record ratings across our cable platform."
As previously announced, Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) and TV Asahi will be the host broadcasters in Japan for the event opener between world number one side Japan and South Korea, ranked eighth in the world, at the Sapporo Dome on November 8 as well as the semi-finals and finals taking place at the Tokyo Dome from November 19 to 21.
TBS and TV Asahi, two of the most wide-reaching broadcasting networks in Japan, have acquired the broadcast rights in Japan for free-to-air television nationwide delivery of the entire 2015 WBSC Premier12 global tournament.
Expanding on the agreement with Videoland, WBSC has awarded the broadcast rights in Taiwan to Videoland for the upcoming Under-18 Baseball World Cup in Osaka, Japan and next year's Under-15 Baseball World Cup in Japan and Under-21 Baseball World Cup in Sinaloa, Mexico.
Videoland also served as the host broadcaster for the recently concluded Under-12 Baseball World Cup in Tainan, Taiwan and will continue to serve as the host broadcaster for the 2017 and 2019 editions, scheduled to be held in the same city.
Baseball/softball is one of eight new sports being considered by Tokyo 2020 following Olympic Agenda 2020's landmark ruling last December that allows Olympic hosts to propose adding sports that are not currently on the Olympic programme but could help engage audiences and young people in the host nation and around the world.
The sport remains the favourite to win its case for inclusion after baseball was dropped from the Olympics following Beijing 2008.
Fraccari hailed the agreement with Videoland as another key development in the sport's global evolution.
"These are unprecedented and exciting times for the appeal of our sport at the national team level," he said.
"The wide-ranging partnership with Videoland - from Under-12 to the professional/flagship product - is the biggest ever for WBSC, and this is of particular significance as we try to earn our way back on the Olympic programme.
"Such breakthrough developments ensure that our sport will be continuing to enhance its momentum and global positioning to 2020 and beyond."
Karate, squash, bowling, sport climbing, surfing, roller sports and wushu were the other sports to have a final chance to stake their claim when interviews with the Tokyo 2020 Additional Events Programme Panel took place in the Japanese capital earlier this month.
An unspecified number of sports will be proposed by Tokyo 2020 to the International Olympic Committee in September, before a final decision is due to made by its membership at its Session in Rio de Janeiro in August 2016.
July 2015: Premier12 tournament signs television deals with Tokyo Broadcasting System and TV Asahi
May 2015: Top ranked Japan and United States to meet in group phase of inaugural WBSC Premier12 tournament
January 2015:Tokyo Dome to host final stages of inaugural WBSC Premier 12 as baseball increases Olympic drive
December 2014: British company chosen to design the look of inaugural Premier 12 baseball competition
December 2014: MP & Silva win rights for new flagship international baseball competition