Live professional baseball games could be televised in the United States as early next week, with South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reporting Monday that ESPN and the Korea Baseball Organization are nearing an agreement.
KBO games could be broadcast on the cable network as early as May 5, when the season is set to start. The KBO season was scheduled to begin in late March, but has been put on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic.
A deal between ESPN and KBO reportedly fell apart last week when the network offered a percentage of revenue from broadcasts but no up-front payment.
The KBO season will start without fans in the stands. According to Daniel Kim of South Korea’s MBC Sports, the plan is to gradually allow an audience back into stadiums starting with stands filled at 20 or 25 per cent of capacity before increasing from that point.
According to previous reports, KBO players will have their temperature taken multiple times before each game once the regular season begins, with no spitting allowed on the field. Players will not be required to wear protective masks, but umpires will wear both masks and gloves.