World Baseball Classic, Inc. (WBCI) today announced the venues and pools of the new Qualifiers for the 2013 World Baseball Classic. The winners of each Qualifying Pool will advance to compete in the 2013 World Baseball Classic tournament next March. The four venues that have been selected to host a Qualifying Pool are:
Armin-Wolf-Baseball-Arena in Regensburg, Germany;
Rod Carew Stadium in Panama City, Panama;
XinZuang Stadium in Taipei, Taiwan; and
Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida
Initial opening round match-ups (including home and visitor designations) as well as ticket information will be announced at a later date by the host venues. The pools for each Qualifier are:
Sept. 20th-24th in Regensburg, Germany
Nov. Dates TBD in Jupiter, Florida, USA
Nov. Dates TBD in Taipei, Taiwan
Nov. 14th-18th in Panama City, Panama
"We are excited to expand the scope of the World Baseball Classic and maintain our commitment to global baseball development, starting with four excellent venues hosting the new Qualifiers this fall," said Paul Archey, Senior Vice President, International Business Operations for Major League Baseball. "We are very pleased with the level of interest from venues and organizers around the world who share our enthusiasm for the World Baseball Classic and its mission of celebrating the global nature of our game."
"We are pleased to have 12 new countries participating in the World Baseball Classic," said Major League Baseball Players Association Assistant General Counsel Ian Penny. "Sports fans around the world will witness one of the greatest events on the international sports calendar when the 2013 World Baseball Classic launches its new Qualifiers with games in Regensburg, Germany. We're confident the Qualifiers will further expand the international popularity of the game we all love. We thank all participating nations for their commitment to the World Baseball Classic and the Qualifier host locations and organizers for their passion and interest in the game of baseball."
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 geographical location.
"The implementation of this qualification system into the World Baseball Classic framework is a true sign of the strong collaboration between the IBAF and our colleagues at Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association," said Riccardo Fraccari, President of the International Baseball Federation. "We are very encouraged about the inclusion of emerging baseball territories and the continual growth of the international baseball landscape that this represents."
The Qualifiers will expand the competitive field from 16 to 28 countries. The teams invited to participate in the Qualifying Pools will include the four World Baseball Classic teams from 2009 that did not win a game - Canada, Chinese Taipei, Panama and South Africa.
The winners from each Qualifying Pool will advance to the World Baseball Classic tournament, scheduled for March 2013. Those four teams will join the 12 countries - Australia, China, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela - that receive automatic invitations based on their performance in the 2009 tournament.
The 2013 World Baseball Classic will mark the third edition of the tournament. The inaugural event was held in 2006, and the second World Baseball Classic was held in 2009.