Press Release World Baseball Softball Confederation
MIYAZAKI, Japan — The ENEOS Presents VI Women’s Baseball World Cup has opened successfully, with four opening day contests on Monday (1-September), including the Australia vs. Japan opener, which was broadcast nationally across Japan by cable-network TV Asahi and webcast globally via Mexico City-based AYM Sports. (See photos.)
The broadcasts and exposure of the World Cup to domestic and international audiences are expected to drive interest in women’s sport, as well as support in Japan for baseball and softball to be included at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games — in line with national surveys indicating that Japanese spectators strongly support adding baseball/softball to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. (See 2020 Poll news article.)
The domestic broadcasts follow growing demand for content featuring Japan’s national baseball and softball teams as the popularity of the two WBSC disciplines continue to boom in Japan — the Olympic 2020 host nation — where baseball and softball are the most popular national sports and hope to be included at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, pending a review of the Olympic sports selection process due for discussion at a special IOC Session in Monaco in December.
The global webcasts have been driven by expanding interest in the bat-and-ball sports with new clubs, leagues and playing fields continuing to emerge in new markets, helping to showcase women’s sports in new softball and baseball territories.
The strong commercial and spectator appeal of baseball and softball for sponsor companies and broadcasters — based on the excitement of the athletes and the sports on the fields of play, sellout crowds, full stadia and exciting and engaging in-venue fan and spectator experiences — has also helped to drive interest in the sports amongst new sponsors, broadcasters, fans and players.
TV Asahi has secured the national rights to broadcast all of the World Cup contests in which Japan’s Women’s National Baseball Team, the three-time defending world champions, will be playing.
In additional to TV Asahi’s national coverage in Japan, MRT TV will air the games within the Miyazaki region (on tape delay).
AYM Sports will also stream all of “Madonna Japan’s” games in HD to a global audience, via their online platform at internetv.tv at no cost, in order to further boost the exposure and content available for women’s sport — a priority for the newly constituted WBSC leadership, under President Riccardo Fraccari, which is committed to expanding the WBSC’s disciplines, particularly as women’s baseball continues to grow in popularity and women’s softball continues to expand its footprint as one of the most popular sports in the world among females athletes.
“This is another great result,” said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari.
“We are working hard to expand opportunities for more women to participate in sport through softball and baseball, and having the support of important sponsors and broadcasters — across all our disciplines — is fundamental to our efforts to maximize access and introduce new pathways for women to play our sports — and indeed other sports.”
Last week, the WBSC celebrated the launch of a new international women’s baseball event, the LG Cup, in partnership with South Korea tech giant, LG Electronics, and the Women’s Baseball Association of Korea.
A total of twenty-four Women’s Baseball World Cup games are being contested in Miyazaki to determine the 2014 world champion. (See complete schedule.)
The eight-nation Women’s Baseball World Cup, which is being played from 1-7 September, is the world’s highest level competition in women’s baseball and features the National Teams of Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, three-time defending champion Japan, Netherlands, United States and Venezuela.