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ESPN agrees to deal to broadcast KBO games

Baseballs before a Nippon Professional Baseball game
Mar 17, 2019; Tokyo, Japan; Baseballs sit atop a pitching machine as seen before the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Yomiuri Giants at Tokyo Dome. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Baseball will be back on ESPN in a matter of hours. Amid the MLB season’s indefinite suspension due to COVID-19, ESPN has struck a deal to broadcast KBO games for the immediate future, starting with the KBO’s Opening Day.

The news, first reported by Yonhap News Agency’s Jeeho Yo, will bring the Korea Baseball Organization to an international audience starting on Tuesday at 1 a.m. EST.

The Samsung Lions and NC Dinos will be kicking off the 2020 KBO season with the first game on Opening Day and it will be broadcast on ESPN and in South Korea.

As part of the agreement, with discussions that went on for weeks, ESPN will broadcast one game per day. Baseball fans will get to watch the 2019 KBO champion, the Doosan Bears, play on May 6.

It will also be an opportunity for MLB fans to see some recognizable faces. Former Miami Marlins pitcher Dan Straily plays for the Chiba Lotte Giants and they face the Bears on May 6. Former Minnesota Twins slugger Byung-ho Park and former Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Aaron Altherr will also be playing in the KBO.

The start of the KBO season and the return of baseball to television is great news for the sport. MLB officials will also likely be watching closely, hoping to follow in the KBO’s footsteps to bring baseball back as quickly as possible.