World Baseball Classic Expands its Worldwide Reach

June 2, 2011

Organisers of the World Baseball Classic (WBC), discount | co-sanctioned by Major League Baseball (MLB) and the International Baseball Federation, announced yesterday, June 1, that the competition will expand from 16 to 28 countries with the addition of a new qualifying round for the 2013 international edition.

The new round of qualifying will feature 16 teams divided into four pools of four teams each. Qualifying games will take place in 2012 and the four pools will operate under a double-elimination format, with each pool winner advancing to the WBC in March 2013.

Brazil, Canada, Taiwan, Colombia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Britain, Israel, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Philippines, South Africa, Spain and Thailand have been invited to join the qualifying stage. Australia, China, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela have already qualified following the results of the 2009 tournament.

MLB commissioner Bud Selig stated: “Growing the game of baseball around the globe is the primary objective of the World Baseball Classic. By expanding the competitive field of the 2013 tournament, we are demonstrating our commitment to this goal and reinforcing that the WBC is the premier showcase of baseball around the globe.”