SBS has been awarded the exclusive South Korean broadcasting rights for the WBSC Premier12 event ©SBS

South Korean broadcasting company SBS has been awarded exclusive rights for the inaugural World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Premier12 event in the Asian nation, it has been announced.

The channel was selected by baseball’s governing body and they will show coverage of next month’s event in Taiwan and Tokyo across a range of platforms, including television and online.

The first-ever edition of the competition features the top 12 baseball teams in the world who will go head-to-head in a round robin and knockout format, with the semi-finals and finals scheduled to take place at the Tokyo Dome.

“WBSC is thrilled to partner with one of South Korea’s premier national networks,” WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari said.

“Through SBS’s leading multiplatform network, millions of passionate fans in this great baseball nation will be able to follow all the action of some of their heroes competing in their country’s name on the WBSC Premier12 global stage.

“The SBS-WBSC partnership on Premier12 is another major milestone that highlights the appeal of this new flagship event - and national team competitions in our sport, in general - and further positions baseball’s growth and stronghold in this key market.”

Before the event itself gets underway, Japan and South Korea, the reigning Olympic champions following their victory at Beijing 2008, will face each other in a special opener for the tournament at the 40,000-seat Sapporo Dome on November 8, it has also been announced.

The tournament features the world's top 12 baseball teams including Olympic silver medallists Cuba
The tournament features the world's top 12 baseball teams including Olympic silver medallists Cuba ©Getty Images

World number one ranked Japan are in Group B alongside the United States, ranked at number two in the world, Korea, Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Mexico.

Olympic silver medallists Cuba, Taiwan, The Netherlands, Canada, Puerto Rico and Italy make up Group A.

It is hoped the event will help showcase baseball’s global appeal after baseball softball was put forward by the Tokyo 2020 Additional Events Programme Panel for potential inclusion at the Olympic Games in the Japanese capital in five years’ time.

“SBS is extremely delighted to be WBSC’s exclusive partner to bring this exciting new international baseball flagship product to audiences nationwide in South Korea,” SBS chief executive Woong-mo Lee added.

“SBS prides itself on featuring premium content that is in demand, resonates with the widest range of our loyal viewers and sparks increased viewership, and adding the WBSC Premier12 and more baseball to SBS’s portfolio is a reflection of this successful strategy.”

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