ESPN and Little League International have agreed an eight-year, multi-platform media rights extension – effective 2023 through 2030 – in which ESPN will remain the exclusive global media rights holder of Little League Baseball and Little League Softball.
The announcement was made by Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and Chief Executive Officer, and Jimmy Pitaro, ESPN President and Disney Media Networks Co-Chair.
As part of the rights extension, ESPN platforms will exclusively carry more than 300 Little League live events annually, including games from every baseball and softball World Series tournament.
ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN+, Longhorn Network and ESPN international platforms will combine to carry the events.
Additionally, ESPN and ABC will continue to produce and televise the entire Little League Baseball World Series, with more games from Williamsport, Pa. than ever before as part of the previously announced expansion of the event from 16 to 20 teams.
Jimmy Pitaro, ESPN President, Disney Media Networks Co-Chair said; “Little League Baseball and Softball inspire us with their deep sense of community, camaraderie, and competitive spirit. Multiple generations of families have enjoyed playing and watching games on ESPN and ABC, and we’re excited to continue and expand the rewarding relationship we have with Steve Keener and all of our friends at Little League Baseball and Softball.”
Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO added; “There is perhaps no broadcast relationship in all of sports as synonymous as Little League and ESPN and ABC. With this extension, ESPN will be showcasing the amazing plays, inspirational stories, and exemplary sportsmanship of our Little League tournaments spanning eight decades.
“This relationship has allowed our organization to provide direct financial support to our 6,500 community-based programs, and we’re grateful that we’ll be able to continue in these vital efforts. We are looking forward to a bright future with Jimmy Pitaro and our partners at ESPN.”
ESPN first began televising Little League games in 1983 and has done so each year since 1987. ABC began broadcasting the Little League World Series in 1963, which makes this one of the longest-standing league – media rights holder relationships in all of sports, only behind The Masters on CBS.
Select elements of the rights extension, including additional live game telecasts, will begin to be implemented during the final two years – 2021 and 2022 – of the current ESPN and Little League agreement.