OKLAHOMA CITY — USA Softball and ESPN have reached a multi-year agreement that will establish the ESPN networks as the home of select World Cup of Softball games through 2020. Starting this year at the World Cup of Softball XII, ESPN will have the production and distribution rights for four USA Softball games and the Championship Game for each World Cup of Softball. All telecasts will be available for live streaming via the ESPN app.
“We’re excited to bring top-level international softball to fans through the ESPN networks for the next four years,” said USA Softball Executive Director Craig Cress. “Fans will have the opportunity to watch the top four ranked teams in the world compete here in Oklahoma City, along with very talented ranked teams like Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Philippines and our Junior National Team squad. As the momentum continues to build towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, we are thrilled to be showcasing the best softball in the world and our sport on the ESPN networks.”
“It’s exciting to be back on ESPN for the World Cup of Softball,” said Women’s National Team veteran Valerie Arioto. “Not only for the anticipation leading up to the Olympic Games in 2020, but also to continue to grow the sport of softball. There is such a broad range of viewers who watch and enjoy softball so our agreement with ESPN is a great avenue for people to be able to watch the best softball in the world!”
As the popularity and coverage of the sport continues to grow as fans around the world anticipate softball’s return to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the 2017 telecast will provide fans the opportunity to watch the world’s best softball live from Oklahoma City. The ESPN networks will air over 10 hours of live coverage on ESPN and ESPN2, which is highlighted by multiple prime time windows and concludes with the Championship Game on Sunday, July 9 at 12 p.m. CT.
“ESPN is extremely pleased to reach an agreement with USA Softball to showcase the World Cup of Softball in the wake of the sport’s return to the Summer Olympics,” said ESPN Vice President of Women’s Sports Programming Carol Stiff. “The premier annual event adds to our deep softball portfolio that now includes more than 600 college softball regular season games annually across our platforms prior to our comprehensive coverage of the NCAA Division I Softball Championship and the Women’s College World Series. Throughout our entire history, women’s sports have been a vital part of ESPN’s programming content offerings and will continue to be into the future.”
The World Cup of Softball features No 1. world-ranked Japan, No. 2 USA, No. 3 Canada, No. 4 Australia, No. 7 Puerto Rico, No. 10 Mexico, No. 17 Philippines and the USA Softball Junior Women’s National Team (JWNT). All other games of the World Cup of Softball will be live streamed for free through USASoftball.com. The tournament is a round robin format, which will feed into the Championship Playoff Round on Sunday, July 9. Ticket packages are now on sale for the World Cup of Softball XII. All-session tickets are $40 for adults and $20 for youth, while single-session tickets are $10 for adult and $5 for youth. All tickets are general admission and allow for the ticket holder to watch all games held on that respective date. Tickets can be purchased by phone at 800-654-8337 or online at USASoftball.com. Tickets will also be available for purchase outside the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex.
This announcement comes on the heels of the most-watched and streamed NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS) finals in WCWS finals history. Averaging a total live-audience (TV + streaming) of 1.72 million viewers, viewership of the event was up 33% from the first two games of the NCAA WCWS finals in 2016.
For complete coverage of World Cup XII including live stats, streaming and results log on to USASoftball.com.
-- Courtesy of USA Softball