The American baseball league will now be available in India from Wednesday following a deal between MLB and Star Sports.
Following in the footsteps of the National Basketball Association (NBA), another famous American sport is all set to charm the Indian sports fan.
This after Major League Baseball (MLB) entered into a multi-year contract with Star Sports to televise live baseball action to the Indian drawing room.
This deal will see Star Sports telecasting both the in-season and the postseason. The coverage will start on Wednesday morning in India with this season’s World Series finals between six-time champions Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays.
Next season will also see Star Sports go big with their MLB coverage with three dedicated shows aimed at taking the game to the Indian audience.
The latest deal comes on the back of MLB’s intentions to expand its operations in the country after taking the first steps a year ago by setting up their Indian office in the national capital.
Aware of the challenges that the league will face in a country like India where cricket is the undisputed leader, MLB is not looking for direct competition.
“India is not like any other place in the world. It will be disrespectful if we tried to replicate the US way or the Chinese way here,” MLB’s senior vice president, international, Jim Small, told Outlook in a recent interview.
“Our aim is to make MLB an Indian sport and establish multiple social connects for kids to learn and play,” Small added.
The American league has already penned a multi-year deal with Indian streaming platform FanCode that sees as many as four games per week being streamed live.
The Los Angeles Dodgers - chasing their first World Series title since 1988 - won the National League pennant in dramatic fashion, overturning a 1-3 deficit in the National League Championship series by winning by three straight games against the Atlanta Braves.
The eight-time reigning National League West champions are heading to their third World Series in four years, having lost in each of their previous two appearances - in 2017 against the Houston Astros and in 2018 against the Boston Red Sox.
The Tampa Bay Rays, who won the American League East division for the third time in franchise history, knocked out two behemoths en route to their second World Series appearance.
After sweeping the Toronto Blue Jays in the Wildcard round, the Rays caused a huge upset, beating American League favourites New York Yankees 3-2 in the AL Divisional series.
The Rays then took a 3-0 lead against the Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series but the 2017 World Series champions rallied back to win three straight and force a Game 7.
The Rays held their nerve in the decider and won 4-2 to win their second American League pennant and head to the World Series in Arlington, Texas.
To know more about Dodgers vs Rays, click here.
All times are in Indian Standard Time (IST)
Wednesday, 21 October
Game 1: Dodgers vs Rays - 5:39 AM IST
Thursday, 22 October
Game 2: Dodgers vs Rays - 5:38 AM IST
Saturday, 24 October
Game 3: Dodgers vs Rays - 5:38 AM IST
Sunday, 25 October
Game 4: Dodgers vs Rays - 5:38 AM IST
Monday, 26 October
Game 5: Dodgers vs Rays - 5:38 AM IST
Wednesday, 28 October
Game 6: Dodgers vs Rays - 5:38 AM IST
Thursday, 29 October
Game 7: Dodgers vs Rays - 5:38 AM IST
You can watch the MLB World Series live on the Star Sports Select 2 and Star Sports Select 2 HD TV channels in India.
Live streaming of MLB in India will be available on Disney+ Hotstar, Star’s own OTT platform. Moreover, the FanCode app will also live stream the Dodgers vs Rays matches.