There was no ‘free’… Rejection to baseball, which you have to pay to watch, why did you choose KBO

Now the time has come to pay to watch professional baseball. It is of keen interest to see how this new change will affect professional baseball. It could be a “jackpot” with baseball, or the overall popularity of baseball could wane.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) officially announced on the 4th that it has signed a three-year contract with OTT platform TVing for wired and wireless broadcasting rights in the KBO League from the 2024 season. To put it simply, TVing now has exclusive rights to broadcast online, such as mobile phones and computers, not TV broadcasting.

It was known that KBO and TVing joined hands for a long time. They selected TVing as the preferred bidder late last year and concluded negotiations. With this contract, KBO will receive a total of 135 billion won (annual average of 45 billion won) for three years. This is the largest amount of money for wired and wireless broadcasting rights in Korea’s professional sports history. It is also an ultra-large contract, in which the average amount of money per year has more than doubled from a total of 110 billion won (annual average of 22 billion won) for five years, which is the amount of existing wired and wireless broadcasting rights contracts.

KBO recently signed a three-year TV broadcasting rights contract worth 162 billion won (54 billion won on average annually) with three terrestrial broadcasting companies and won the largest wired and wireless broadcasting rights contract ever. It is expected that the league will continue to operate in a more stable environment in terms of funds.

It’s a good thing for KBO, but fans who watch baseball right away are out of order. In my life, I have never paid to watch baseball games. However, I have to pay right away from this year. The first month of April is free. However, starting in May, I have to pay at least 5,500 won (approx. There is room to reduce costs due to discounts related to telecommunication companies, but I have to pay a few thousand won to watch baseball games through my mobile phone. This could make me feel rejected.

In fact, when TVing was first selected as a negotiator, there was an atmosphere of half-belief about the issue of paying. It was expected to pursue profits because it was an OTT company, but it was said that professional baseball would include a clause that guarantees free viewing rights due to its strong public goods character. It seemed that there would be a paid-free difference due to differences in image quality and content service.

However, it was concluded that there was no “free”. As much as TVing invests, their profitable business rights should be guaranteed. After all, it is no different from KBO and clubs choosing the pay era. This is not an arbitrary decision of KBO. The evaluation committee included all team officials. It’s only a matter of money in the end that they sided with TVing. Most of the broadcasting rights that KBO receives are distributed to each club.

They could lose the hearts of their fans due to their immediate and realistic interest. However, KBO and its clubs stress that they cannot go against the trend of the times. It is already the age of video clips. Teaving allows any fan to freely use the shorts that lasts less than 40 seconds. Rather than resistance to charging, it can be a huge advantage to attract younger fans. “I think that ‘free’ can be resolved to some extent through TV broadcasting,” a KBO official said. “It is also important to provide more in-depth services such as analysis programs and interviews through television.” They say that there are enough elements to pay.

The contract period is three years. If TVing becomes a big hit with baseball, other OTT platforms will enter the baseball market in three years. On the contrary, if it is judged to be a boring market in terms of profitability, it may return to the same format as before. It is no different from being at a critical crossroads in the industrialization of the KBO League. After all, it is a question of how fans react. First of all, factors such as ‘monster’ Ryu Hyun-jin’s return to the Hanwha Eagles, and fierce competition announced early are making TVing laugh.

BY: 스포츠토토핫

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