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03/07/2007 12:10 PM ET
Major League Baseball International, ESPN Star Sports and FTV reach new television deals
Three-year agreements extend through 2009; ESPN Star Sports renews and expands MLB Coverage; FTV introduced as a new broadcast partner in Taiwan
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Major League Baseball International has reached agreements with ESPN Star Sports (ESS) and FTV on comprehensive over-the-air, cable and satellite broadcast packages through 2009, it was announced today.

As part of a renewal agreement, ESS will maintain cable and satellite television rights in 29 countries and territories across Asia (with exclusivity in all, except for China) through the 2009 MLB championship season. ESS will broadcast up to three MLB regular season games per week, the All-Star Game (with additional rights to the Home Run Derby and the XM All-Star Futures Game), select American and National League Division Series games, both League Championship Series and the World Series to television audiences across Asia.

Additionally, ESS has expanded its inventory in Taiwan specifically to include the right to air up to seven regular season games per week (an increase of four games), any and all games featuring a Taiwanese player, and the entire MLB postseason (Division and League Championship Series games were formally limited). ESS has been a MLB broadcast partner for the past decade.

The new agreement with FTV gives the popular Taiwanese network exclusive over-the-air television rights in Taiwan for the first time ever. From 2007-2009, FTV will broadcast more than 60 MLB regular season games per year, including one game every Saturday morning. FTV will also hold premier content rights as the over-the-air home of the MLB All-Star Game and the entire MLB postseason.

"These agreements highlight the growing excitement and enthusiasm for Major League Baseball in Asia, specifically in Taiwan," said Paul Archey, Senior Vice President, International Business Operations, Major League Baseball. "Partners like ESS and FTV give us an ideal platform to satisfy the increasing demand for Major League game broadcasts in Asia by showcasing all 30 Clubs and bringing international baseball stars, like Hong-Chih Kuo and Chien-Ming Wang, unprecedented visibility in their home markets." "We are pleased to secure a renewal of Major League Baseball rights at a time when Asian players are enjoying unprecedented success with some of the best teams in MLB," said Jamie Davis, Managing Director, ESPN STAR Sports. "As Asia's leading sports broadcaster, we are committed to delivering the best sporting action, which includes MLB, to our viewers throughout Asia."

"We are very glad to ally with MLB for the next three years and FTV wants to make a difference in promoting MLB games in Taiwan," said Kang-hsing Chen, President, FTV.

About ESPN Star Sports
ESPN STAR Sports is a 50:50 joint venture between two of the world's leading cable and satellite broadcasters. As Asia's definitive and complete sports broadcaster and content provider, ESPN STAR Sports combines the strengths and resources of its ultimate parent companies - Walt Disney (ESPN, Inc.) and News Corporation Limited (STAR) - to deliver a diverse array of international and regional sports to viewers via its encrypted pay and free-to-air services.

ESPN STAR Sports showcases an unparalleled variety of premier live sports from around the globe to a cumulative reach of more than 276 million viewers in Asia, 24 hours a day. ESPN STAR Sports has 14 networks covering 24 countries, each localized to deliver differentiated world-class premier sports programming to Asian viewers. This includes ESPN Asia, ESPN India, ESPN Taiwan, ESPN Singapore, ESPN Philippines, MBC-ESPN (Korea), ESPN Hong Kong, STAR Sports Hong Kong, STAR Sports Asia, STAR Sports India, STAR Sports Taiwan, STAR Sports Southeast Asia and STAR Sports Singapore. On the ground, the ESPN STAR Sports Event Management Group manages and promotes premier sporting events around Asia. The multi-lingual, online platforms, espnstar.com, espnstar.com.cn and espnstar.com.tw and footballcrazy.tv interact with millions of users providing them with in-depth sports news, results and competitions.

mobileESPN enables sports fans to follow their favorite sports more closely than ever with content specially delivered via their mobile phones. mobileESPN is the first of a regional suite of services to be offered across seven markets in Asia Pacific - Airtel (India), Hutch (India), Idea (India), BSNL (India), BPL Mobile (India), CSL (Hong Kong), Globe Telecom (Philippines) Maxis (Malaysia), SingTel (Singapore), Taiwan Mobile (Taiwan), Telkomsel (Indonesia), StarHub (Singapore), MobileOne (Singapore), PCCW (Hong Kong), Sunday (Hong Kong) and Astro (Malaysia).

About FTV
In 1997, Formosa Television (FTV) became Taiwan's first privately-owned, terrestrial TV station, launched alongside a cable news channel, FTV News. FTV is one of the most diverse TV stations, tapping into different markets with different demands. The station caters to the Mandarin Chinese, Taiwanese, Hakkanese markets and is currently the only TV station in Taiwan to broadcast news in English. Widespread viewer support has made FTV the terrestrial station with the highest ratings over the past three years. FTV began providing in-flight news on China Airlines flights in 2002 keeping travelers up to date on current events in Taiwan, at 35,000 feet in the sky. In 2005, FTV established FMTV, a digital television channel, leading the market into the mobile TV era.

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