Baseball and softball's campaign for inclusion in the 2020 Olympics received a boost from last week's World Baseball Classic. World Baseball Softball Confederation (IBAF) co-President Riccardo Fraccari said, “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." The WBC, launched in '06 and only in its third edition, exceeded worldwide broadcast and ticket sales benchmarks. The WBC demonstrated that baseball is rising in popularity beyond its American origins. 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 (IBAF).
Next year's Oscars "will be held a week later than originally planned to avoid clashing with the Winter Olympics in Russia." The '14 scheduling, March 2, "will push the world's most famous film awards ceremony from its usual late February slot into the following month" (London GUARDIAN, 3/26). ... Organizers of Tokyo's bid for the 2020 Olympic Games said Tuesday that public support for their campaign had risen to 77%. The Tokyo bid committee said that "the support rate was up four points from January," citing its own telephone surveys. The rate started at 58% in July 2012 (AFP, 3/26). ... The World Squash Federation "received a massive boost" Monday when bank CIMB announced its support for squash to be included in the 2020 Olympic Games (STAR ONLINE, 3/26).