World Baseball Classic Boosts Baseball/Softball 2020 Olympic Bid
By Community | March 26, 2013
“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/Softball is competing with Wrestling, Wakeboarding, Squash, Karate, Wushu, Roller Sports and Sport Climbing for a spot at the 2020 Olympics.