WBC Provides Boost To Baseball, Softball Campaigns For 2020 Olympics Inclusion
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).