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Mar '13 26

World Baseball Classic Grows Game Globally, Boosts Case for Baseball & Softball in the Olympics

2013 World Baseball Classic Comments Off on World Baseball Classic Grows Game Globally, Boosts Case for Baseball & Softball in the Olympics

Press Release World Baseball Softball Confederation

LAUSANNE, Switzerland – Baseball and Softball’s campaign for inclusion in the Olympics received a big boost from last week’s successful staging of the World Baseball Classic (WBC).

“The success and expansion [from 16 to 28 national teams] of the World Baseball Classic highlights the demand for baseball on a global stage and is a major boost for efforts to provide more opportunities for a new generation of young athletes to proudly wear their nations’ jerseys,” World Baseball Softball Confederation co-President Riccardo Fraccari stated.

The WBC, launched in 2006 and only in its third edition, exceeded worldwide broadcast and ticket sales benchmarks, highlighting the potential benefits and attractiveness that adding a bat-and-ball sport to the Olympic Programme could deliver.

Less than half of the teams in the 2013 WBC came from the Americas (39%), while 29% of the 28 qualified teams came from Europe and 21% from Asia. The 2013 WBC has demonstrated emphatically that baseball is flourishing beyond its “American” origins, and if placed on the Olympic Programme, baseball, along with softball, would significantly enhance the excitement, popularity, universality and experience that an already strong Olympic Games program produces.

WBSC co-head Don Porter commented, “We believe baseball and softball can become the next global game and bring the embodiment of sport and Olympic ideals to the lives of millions of young people around the world through baseball, softball and the Olympic Games.”

The 2013 World Baseball Classic surpassed previous WBC records in attendance, licensing, viewership, sponsorship sales and social media activity.

“The impressive figures [of the WBC] clearly indicate that our sport could help further drive the Olympic brand in key and lucrative regions, as well as in digital media, where the baseball discipline has strongholds and continues to thrive and expand,” said Fraccari.

“In 2009, there were professional baseball players from 30 countries; today there are 44 countries represented and we expect this growth trend to continue and accelerate with the inclusion of baseball and softball in the Olympics,” Fraccari stated.

“Baseball and softball leagues around the world have continued to adapt and take the sport to new markets, demonstrating the growing appeal and popularity of baseball and softball, particular among youth in an ever widening range of cultures, countries and continents, “ said Porter.

Baseball and Softball are included in a group of sports that the IOC Executive Board and will have to pass by this key evaluation to go to a final vote before the entire IOC membership in September.

Some Highlights and Figures of the 2013 World Baseball Classic

  • Japan’s opening round game was the most viewed sporting event in Japan for the last 12 months, registering a 22.1 rating and a 43 share.
  • A record-breaking 74% of TV viewers in Puerto Rico tuned in to watch their national team defeat Japan in last Sunday’s semifinal, while the second round game between Japan and Chinese Taipei registered the highest cable ratings in Taipei’s history.
  • The Championship game between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic was the most-watched sporting event in the Dominican Republic of the last ten years, and the most-watched sporting event in Puerto Rico in more than a year.
  • More than 2,100 media accreditation requests were received for the opening pool play round in Fukuoka alone, while fans from more than 220 countries and territories followed visited the official WBC website during the event.
  • The social media following of the official World Baseball Classic Facebook page generated nearly one million likes, comments and shares during the tournament, with posts from the official Twitter feed re-tweeted nearly 200,000 times, showcasing the sport’s appeal to a young and digitally connected audience.

About the World Baseball Softball Confederation:

Formed under the authority and merger of the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and International Softball Federation (ISF), the World Baseball Softball Confederation has been established to provide a unified voice and governance for all disciplines of Softball and Baseball throughout the world.

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