“Good Morning, Good Afternoon, and Good Evening”: U.S. Views on the Chinese Professional Baseball League in the Wake of COVID-19

Nick Bowman, Yen Hui Alex Hsu, Lindsey Jean Resignato

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

The Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) represents Taiwan’s top professional baseball league. Composed of two levels, CPBL entered its 31st season of play on 11 April 2020—delayed by nearly 1 month while Taiwan coped with the global COVID-19 outbreak. Play resumed without live fans (although robotic and holographic fans were placed in the crowd) and players took the field without many of the sights and sounds common to professional baseball. However, viewing from afar were tens of millions of sports-hungry fans, scouring social media and international broadcast outlets to catch a glimpse of the only professional baseball league in action. For nearly 2 months in 2020, CPBL games were broadcast to international audiences, many largely unfamiliar with the league’s history, teams, and sponsors, although baseball fans recognized players with experience in other leagues, such as Major League Baseball. Likewise, the league found itself responding to it newfound immense popularity uncommon for CPBL play, organizing broadcasts in English and working with sports media partners foreign and domestic to meet the seemingly insatiable international demand for Taiwanese baseball. In our chapter, we offer a short history and overview of CPBL (with a specific focus on the CPBL’s prior engagement with international media outlets and fans), the early planning of player competition and international broadcast rights in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and the short-term impact of these efforts on both on-field play as well as off-field popularity of the league. The chapter also includes a thematic analysis of English-language sports media and their coverage of the CPBL during April and May 2020. The chapter ends with a retrospective on the league’s performance and an outlook on the long-term impacts of the league’s international exposure. Throughout the chapter, CPBL experiences and actions will be analyzed through myriad sports communication lenses, such as sports fandom and mediasport perspectives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEast Asian Popular Culture
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Pages23-51
Number of pages29
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Publication series

NameEast Asian Popular Culture
ISSN (Print)2634-5935
ISSN (Electronic)2634-5943

Keywords

  • Baseball
  • COVID-19
  • Framing theory
  • Mediasport
  • Taiwan
  • Thematic analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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