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September 20, 2017

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New broadcaster could mean rosier outlook for baseball

For years, Taiwan has been known for producing some of the best baseball talents in the world.

Its professional league, the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL, 中華職棒), now in its 25th year, has also been known for its highly competitive games, even though this is largely overshadowed by a series of game-fixing scandals.

Taiwan's excellent performance in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, in which it advanced to the final eight of the top-tier international tournament, once again proves that the CPBL is one of the most competitive pro leagues in the world.

After all, more than half of the roster for Team Taiwan are CPBL players.

Despite its rising global competitiveness and popularity, however, it is not easy to watch CPBL games overseas because its broadcasters all are Taiwan-based TV networks, making the league less accessible to baseball lovers outside the country.

This situation might change, however, as the league recently signed a historic contract with a foreign media rights company.

The CPBL announced last month that MP & Silva, an international media rights company, has won the broadcasting right for the league's game in the next six years with a landmark NT$2.1 billion deal.

Speaking during a press conference to announce the deal, Cho Su-hyeon, MP & Silva managing director in Japan and Korea, said his company has confidence about the future outlook for the CPBL.

Cho said his company, which manages sports TV rights globally, sees potential in Taiwanese professional baseball and is planning to promote the league to Japan, Korea and China.

A London-based company, MP & Silva has 17 offices around the globe. The company's impressive portfolio includes FIFA World Cup rights, Europe's top leagues in soccer, Grand Slam tennis and motor racing, among others.

The historic deal is definitely good news for the CPBL in its aim to reach out to global audiences. Over the past years, the league has, under the leadership of a new management crew, launched a series of reforms to revamp its image that has been marred by game-throwing incidents during its two-decade history.

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