TV schedule set for Classic's Sydney qualifier

World Baseball Classic, Inc. (WBCI) today announced the broadcast schedule for the Sydney, Australia Qualifier, which will be played February 11th-14th at Blacktown International Sportspark. The winner of the Qualifier, which features Australia, New Zealand, Philippines and South Africa, will advance to compete in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, the fourth installment of the premier international baseball tournament featuring many of the world's greatest players.

Fans in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico will be able to watch the Final of the Qualifier on MLB Network live at 10:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 14th as well as three additional games, including the first game of the host team Australia.

In addition, all six games will be available live and on-demand at no charge on WorldBaseballClassic.com for fans in the United States and Puerto Rico. Gameday pitch tracking will allow fans around the world to follow every pitch and see up-to-the moment stats and have access to complete coverage including video highlights and select pre- and post-game press conferences.

ESPN Pac-Rim, a long-standing partner of MLB International, will carry each game either live or on delay for fans in Australia, the Cook Islands, Fiji, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, New Zealand, Palau, Western Samoa and Tahiti. The games will also appear on Solar Sports in the Philippines. Following is the complete broadcast information for the Sydney Qualifier. Following the Sydney Qualifier, additional Qualifiers will be held at Estadio B Air in Mexicali, Mexico on March 17th-20th (Mexico, Czech Republic, Germany, Nicaragua); Rod Carew Stadium in Panama City, Panama on March 17th-20th (Colombia, France, Panama, Spain); and MCU Park in Brooklyn, New York on September 22nd-25th (Brazil, Great Britain, Israel, Pakistan). The Qualifiers will feature a six-game, modified double-elimination format.

The composition of the pools was determined after venues were selected, with consideration given to competitive balance, existing rivalries and each national team's geographic location. The winners from each Qualifier will advance to the World Baseball Classic tournament, scheduled for March 2017. Those four teams will join the 12 countries - Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela - that received automatic invitations based on their performance in the 2013 tournament. MLB Network will be the exclusive English-language home of the 2017 World Baseball Classic in the United States.

The Qualifiers were originally introduced prior to the 2013 World Baseball Classic, when Qualifiers were held in Panama City; Regensburg, Germany; Jupiter, Florida; and Taipei, Taiwan during the fall of 2012. The inaugural World Baseball Classic was held in 2006 prior to ensuing editions in 2009 and 2013.

The schedule is as follows:

THURSDAY
South Africa 7, New Zealand 1

 Australia 11, Philippines 1

FRIDAY
Philippines vs. New Zealand:
Local: 1 p.m.
ET: 9 p.m. Thursday
Watch: Live on MLB.com, WorldBaseballClassic.com and ESPN Pac-Rim

Australia vs. South Africa:
Local: 7:30 p.m.
ET: 3:30 a.m.
Watch: Live on MLB Network, MLB.com, WorldBaseballClassic.com and ESPN Pac-Rim

SATURDAY
TBD vs. TBD:
Local: 6:30 p.m.
ET: 2:30 a.m.
Watch: Live on MLB Network, MLB.com and WorldBaseballClassic.com (ESPN Pac-Rim delayed to 12:30 p.m. local)

SUNDAY
Finalist 2 vs. Finalist 1:
Local: 2 p.m.
ET: 10 p.m. Saturday
Watch: Live on MLB Network, MLB.com and WorldBaseballClassic.com (ESPN Pac-Rim delayed to 11 p.m. local)

* Teams will play at listed game time regardless of whether they win or lose their opening game.