KBO signs record-breaking streaming deal with CJ ENM, moves games behind paywall

A person walks by the logo of Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) at the main building of KBO in Gangnam District, Seoul, in this July 16, 2021 file photo. Korea Times photo by Lee Han-ho

The Korean baseball league announced Monday it has signed a record-setting streaming rights deal with CJ ENM, with its games moving behind a paywall for the first time.For the next three seasons, CJ ENM, the media and entertainment arm of CJ Group, will carry Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) games on its streaming platform, Tving.According to the KBO, the deal is worth 135 billion won ($101.4 million), compared with the previous five-year, 110 billion-won contract with a consortium of portal sites and telecommunication firms, including Naver and SK Telecom.The new contract ends the era of free online streaming of KBO games, as Tving offers services to paid subscribers.

However, to celebrate the landmark deal, CJ ENM will provide games free of charge from Saturday, the first day of the preseason, to April 30, the end of the first full month of the regular season. All games will be streamed at full high definition at 1,080p, according to Tving.The exhibition campaign goes from Saturday to March 19, and the regular season will begin March 23.CJ ENM will produce preseason games not otherwise televised on cable and stream them on Tving, ensuring that every game will be available for fans either on cable or online.Starting May 1, fans can watch all regular season and postseason games on Tving for as low as 5,500 won per month for the “standard with ads” package,” which was launched Monday. Highlights, full game replays and play-by-play texts will also be available on Tving.Tving said first-time subscribers purchasing the standard with ads package between Monday and April 30 will only have to pay 100 won for the first month.The streaming service added that it is considering adding the picture-in-picture option for live KBO games for viewers watching them on the standard package.

Tving can be accessed on mobile phones, tablets, computers and smart TVs. One account can have up to four profiles, and a maximum two devices can stream Tving content simultaneously.At the start of the regular season, Tving will introduce a real-time rewind function and set up a live chat for every game.Tving will select one “Tving Super Match” per week, and run a special preview show featuring in-depth interviews with managers and players, followed by the game coverage and an extensive postgame show.As part of the deal, the KBO will also lift restrictions on the use of game clips on social media. Fans will now be able to create their own GIFs, memes or shorts using KBO highlights, with the league hoping that such digestible clips on social media will generate more interest among digital-savvy people.The KBO opened the bidding for the new streaming rights deal on Dec. 4 last year and selected CJ ENM as its preferred negotiating partner on Jan. 5. 슬롯사이트 The two sides reached their agreement on Feb. 16, the KBO said

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