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Press Release August 26-27, 2013

posted Sep 6, 2013, 3:52 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Sep 6, 2013, 4:04 PM ]
Olympic 2020 Countdown: Baseball-Softball leaders update Olympic Games sports campaign as IOC vote draws near
WBSC co-presidents outline how Baseball and Softball
can serve Olympic Movement


- With less than two weeks to go before the IOC votes on which sport to add to the 2020 Olympic Games, the leaders of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) have outlined how the worldwide player, fan and commercial support for baseball and softball can help to enhance the Olympic Games as well as the cause of Olympism, if included in the Games.


The WBSC's campaign, which is baseball and softball's third attempt in eight years for inclusion in the Olympic Games, highlights the advantages of adding baseball and softball as a pair to the Olympic Programme. [See attachment]


"This campaign is the culmination of eight years of hard work to better understand how baseball and softball's massive worldwide support base amongst young people and players, and broadcast and sponsor appeal can be presented in new ways that are in alignment with the priorities with the Olympic Movement," co-Presidents Riccardo Fraccari and Don Porter said.


"We have listened and learned from the IOC about the importance of athlete experience, as well as fans experience, and the need to provide an electrifying sporting atmosphere in the venues that engages young people, the host nation and city, as well as broadcast and new media audiences worldwide," the co-Presidents said.


"We reviewed our sports and improved key aspects of how baseball and softball can be presented as sports at the 2020 Olympic Games," they said.


The recommendation from the IOC to merge the international baseball and softball federations to form a single entity was fundamental to adding value to the Olympic  Games, the WBSC leaders said.


"This enables the WBSC to bring unique and exciting bat-and-ball skills that connect with young people to the Olympic programme, and full gender equity," according to the co-presidents.


If included at the 2020 Games, Baseball/Softball will set a historic precedent, establishing women's softball and men's baseball as equal partners in an Olympic sport for the first time.


The co-presidents said the support of all the professional leagues for the Olympic inclusion campaign had also been important.


The focus has been on how baseball and softball can deliver added value to the Olympic Games, including:


A New Sustainable Sports Model

Baseball and softball will present shorter, higher impact six day Olympic sports tournaments in the same compact venue to reduce costs and logistical demands on Olympic host cities and organising committees.


New Audiences, Markets and Territories

With 65+ million athletes at all levels in 140+ countries and 150+ million fans filling venues worldwide, driving record ticket sales and revenues in 2012, Baseball and Softball are among the most popular sports in the world.


"We believe that the Olympic Games is the pinnacle for every athlete and every sport, and if included, we will make our resources available to the Olympic Family," the co-presidents said.




MEDIA: For more information, please contact:
Michael Pirrie at mpirrie2012@gmail.com, +44 78675 04856
Oscar Lopez at
olopez@worldbaseballandsoftball.org, +41 791 999 677
Lori Nolan at lnolan@worldbaseballandsoftball.org

Please Note: The WBSC document outlining the advantaged of including baseball and softball in the Games follows below, entitled: "Why Baseball and Softball will Strengthen the Olympic Movement."

Case Study:

Why Baseball and Softball will Strengthen the  
Olympic Movement

Advantages of adding Baseball and Softball to the Olympic Programme

 Expansion and development to 2020 and beyond


By WBSC co-Presidents Riccardo Fraccari and Don Porter



New Sports Category

Baseball and Softball will bring a new, exciting and unique bat-and-ball category of sport and athletes currently not part of the Olympic Games Programme.


The inclusion of Baseball/Softball will prevent over-saturation of any one particular category of sport on the Olympic sports schedule.


New Sports Experience

Baseball/Softball will diversify, balance and enhance the overall Olympic sports experience for athletes, fans, sponsors, broadcasters, viewers and host cities and countries. 


New Sustainable Sports Model

Baseball and softball will present shorter, higher impact six day Olympic sports tournaments in the same compact venue to reduce costs and logistical demands on Olympic host cities and organising committees.


WBSC will deliver not one, but two non-overlapping Olympic tournaments to build continuity, excitement and avoid fragmentation.


New Era for Women and Sport

If included at the 2020 Games, Baseball/Softball will set a historic precedent, establishing women's softball and men's baseball as equal partners in an Olympic sport for the first time.


Softball is increasingly popular as a non-contact team sport in Muslim and other cultures where dress codes and rules can be easily adapted for girls and young women from all backgrounds and faiths. Observing women softballers performing at the Games will inspire and leave a profound impression on future generations of girls and boys, which will help use sport as a tool to breakdown societal stereotypes of and barriers to gender inequality.

Adding a sport to the Olympic programme that women across the world enjoy to play, like softball, will give women more opportunities to be empowered through sport, and will help to build Olympic Games that are more relevant to women, which will help

promote and redefine women's roles in sport across all levels and in society.


New National Team Sport/Solidarity

Athletes who typically compete against each other in clubs during regular competitions will unite on the world's biggest stage at the Olympic Games to represent their National Team, which is the highest honour for any athlete and a unique spectacle of solidarity.


This will maintain the high level of international spirit, respect and friendship that defines the Olympic Games.  


New Audiences, Markets and Territories

With 65+ million athletes at all levels in 140+ countries and 150+ million fans filling venues worldwide, driving record ticket sales and revenues in 2012, Baseball and Softball are among the most popular sports in the world (across both genders) and the most followed not under the Olympic umbrella.


This year's World Baseball Classic set broadcast records and sold over 885,000 tickets to make it the biggest world championship event of the year, whereas this year's World Cup of Softball was broadcast into over 140 countries.


Adding Baseball/Softball will drive those who play or follow our games to also follow and support the Olympic Games, attracting a new generation of athletes, more young people, cultures, audiences, followers and sponsor interest to the Olympic Movement.


This will help to strengthen and sustain the Olympic brand and ensure the Olympic Games remain the world's most important sporting and cultural event.


New Vision to Reach Youth

Adding Baseball/Softball will deliver a sport that continues to connect with millions of young people everywhere and with today's youth culture.


Baseball and softball's young athletes continue to help develop and evolve our sport, keeping it modern, appealing and relevant for new generations.


New and innovative urban, street and playground projects, like the first one of its kind in Rotterdam (NED), are in development to increase accessibility and attractiveness of our sport.


Baseball/Softball's unique connection with youth is further strengthening through digital media like web-streaming, mobile devices applications and video games.


Including Baseball/Softball at the 2020 Games and an eventual Youth Olympic Games, will drive one of the largest youth bases in sport, and connect the Olympic Movement to millions of young people everywhere, inspiring and transferring Olympic ideals and knowledge to them at key developmental stages in their lives, to progress the Games and society well into the future.


New Federation and Partner for Olympic Movement: Sport For All

WBSC's vision is to work with the IOC members, and with all the Olympic sports federations, to help empower youth and provide more opportunities for young people, especially girls and women, to be included in sport across all levels and in the Olympic Games.


Our sport can be played and taught almost anywhere because there are no social, gender or economic barriers.


Our sport is popular among and accessible to youths and parents because it's non-violent, is easy to learn, teaches various actions (e.g., concentration, patience, running, jumping, throwing, catching, teamwork, etc.) and there is always a role on the team for every size athlete, skill-level, and for athletes with impairments.


The social, physical and leadership skills boys and girls develop through the practice of baseball/softball transfer to other important areas, such as school, society and other sports.


Selecting Baseball/Softball will accelerate the IOC's Sport For All initiative and enable the benefit of sport to be experienced by every boy and girl.


New Growth, Resources and Investment to 2020 and beyond

The WBSC will help to deliver greater security and long-term viability to the Olympic Movement, if baseball and softball are included at the 2020 Olympic Games.


National team competitions are growing in universality and attraction across all media platforms and with sponsors, broadcasters, fans and hosts.


Our athletes from U12 to the professional level and the National Federations all want more international Baseball and Softball competitions.


Our sport is experiencing a new era of globalisation, where resources are being poured into international development.


New venues are being constructed or renovated in Africa, across the Americas, in Asia, Europe and Oceania, also benefiting local economies.


Baseball and softball are entering a new Golden Era, which is based on the growing popularity and commercial power of baseball and softball, and the excitement and capacity of the bat-and-ball sports to fill stadiums around the world; provide an electrifying fan experience and spectacle for broadcasters and viewers; generate strong ticket sales and revenues, television audiences and international sponsors; to connect with young people, and provide new pathways for women and girls into sport, especially through softball in Muslim countries.


We are growing our sport together for our athletes, toward 2020 and for the Olympic Movement.


About the World Baseball Softball Confederation: 

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) was formed this year to create a single federation designed to permanently align, merge and manage the ultimate aspirations of the sports and to achieve our global vision of giving every boy and girl in the world a chance to play the game.

Following the guidance of the International Olympic Committee who indicated the necessity for baseball and softball to team up in order to be jointly considered for inclusion in the Olympic programme, the two independent IFs set out on a path toward a full and complete merger.

Last year, the WBSC established a memorandum of understanding between the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and the International Softball Federation (ISF) that essentially laid out the ground rules for partnership and begin work on a Constitution that would guide the merger and provide a framework for governance, ethics and operations.

At the historic IBAF Congress in Tokyo, the Constitution was ratified and since it had already been approved by an ISF working group empowered to do so, the WBSC was officially formalized and empowered.

At present, the WBSC is run by the co-Presidents Don Porter and Riccardo Fraccari.  A unified General Assembly in 2014 will finalize all details of the organization and put forth a slate of leadership for election.