USA Softball has reached an agreement with ESPN to broadcast the World Cup until 2020 – the year the sport will make its Olympic comeback alongside baseball.
Starting with the 2017 World Cup of Softball, which starts in Oklahoma City on Wednesday (July 5), ESPN will hold the production and distribution rights for games featuring the USA women’s team and the championship game for each tournament.
ESPN’s networks will air over 10 hours of live coverage, which will be highlighted by multiple prime time windows.
The sports-only television network will broadcast and live stream the games via their network of channels and their mobile app.
“We’re excited to bring top-level international softball to fans through the ESPN networks for the next four years,” said USA Softball executive director Craig Cress.
“Fans will have the opportunity to watch the top four ranked teams in the world compete here in Oklahoma City, along with very talented ranked teams like Mexico, Puerto Rico, The Philippines and our junior national team squad.
“As the momentum continues to build towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, we are thrilled to be showcasing the best softball in the world and our sport on the ESPN networks.”
The tournament is a round robin format, which will feed into the playoff round.
Softball will feature with baseball on the Olympic sports program for the first time since Beijing 2008 when competition is held at Tokyo 2020.
“ESPN is extremely pleased to reach an agreement with USA Softball to showcase the World Cup of Softball in the wake of the sport’s return to the Summer Olympics,” said ESPN vice-president of women’s sports programming Carol Stiff.
“Throughout our entire history, women’s sports have been a vital part of ESPN’s programming content offerings and will continue to be into the future.”
This year’s final is scheduled to take place on Sunday (July 9).
By Mike Rowbottom
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.