Asian venues, pools for 2017 World Baseball Classic announced

Japan's Tokyo Dome to host first and second round games; first-time host South Korea to welcome first round at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul

World Baseball Classic, Inc. (WBCI) today announced the Asian venues and pools for the 2017 World Baseball Classic, which will be played at sites around the world in March.

Japan, which has hosted pools in each of the previous three World Baseball Classics at the Tokyo Dome (2006, 2009 and 2013) and Fukuoka Yahoo! Japan Dome (2013), will again be home to first round (Pool A) and second round (Pool E) games in 2017. Both first and second round pools will take place at the Tokyo Dome from March 7th-16th. Pool A will feature 2013 WBC semi-finalist Japan along with Cuba, China and Australia.

"I would like to express my appreciation to WBCI for their great effort to organize the fourth World Baseball Classic. I look forward to each game at every venue, which shall be exciting and competitive," said Katsuhiko Kumazaki, Commissioner, Nippon Professional Baseball. "It is my sincere belief that this outstanding event will promote this great sport of baseball all over the world."

Seoul, South Korea will make its debut as a WBC host city, presenting contests in Pool B at the newly opened Gocheok Sky Dome from March 7th-11th. The pool will feature teams from Korea, Chinese Taipei, The Kingdom of the Netherlands and the winner of the final WBC Qualifier pool, which includes Brazil, Great Britain, Israel and Pakistan and will be played September 22nd-25th at MCU Park in Brooklyn, New York.

"We are very pleased to host the WBC in Korea for the first time. I would like to convey my sincere gratitude towards WBCI and everyone involved in our bidding process for their industrious work," said Bon N Koo, Commissioner, Korea Baseball Organization. "We will continue to prepare most diligently to make this baseball festival enjoyable not only for our fans in Korea, but for the fans all around the world."

"Today's announcement honors both the young tradition and bright future of the World Baseball Classic. Tokyo has been a staple of all three prior World Baseball Classics, and we look forward to partnering again with the NPB and Yomiuri," said Chris Park, MLB Senior Vice President, Growth, Strategy & International. "Alongside the KBO, we are likewise delighted to bring the World Baseball Classic to Seoul for the first time. The Korean baseball community has never been stronger and next year's showcase at the Gocheok Sky Dome serves and demonstrates the growth of our game throughout Asia."

"We're looking forward to bringing the World Baseball Classic to the city of Seoul and a nation that features some of the world's most passionate baseball fans," said Major League Baseball Players Association Chief of Business Affairs, Timothy Slavin. "In the same way, we are thrilled to be welcomed back to Tokyo, whose fans have come to expect highly competitive games between some of the best players and teams the sport has to offer. Also, we want to thank our friends at the JPBPA, KPBPA, KBO, NPB and Yomiuri for their ongoing support and commitment to the World Baseball Classic and the worldwide growth of our great game."

The top two teams in each of the four first round pools will advance to the second round. Additional venues, pool compositions and game dates for the 2017 World Baseball Classic will be announced in the weeks ahead along with information regarding ticket availability.

The World Baseball Classic is sanctioned by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) as the sport's official National Team World Championship.