OTTAWA-The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) announced today the competing nations that will participate in the international federation’s flagship event, WBSC Premier12®, from November 2-17, 2019 with Canada (No. 10) among the 12 countries listed.
Other nations named to the event include No. 1 Japan, No. 2 USA, No. 3 Korea, No. 4 Chinese Taipei, No. 5 Cuba, No. 6 Mexico, No. 7 Australia, No. 8 Netherlands, No. 9 Venezuela, No. 11 Puerto Rico and No. 12 Dominican Republic.
WBSC Premier12® holds great significance with two of six spots in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games up-for-grabs including the top team in the final standings from the Asia/Oceania territory (not including automatically qualified No. 1 Japan) and the top finisher from the Americas.
Baseball is making a return to the Olympics Games sport program having last appeared in 2008.
WBSC Premier12® will see the 12 nations split into three groups of four for the Opening Round with the top two seeds in each group advancing to the Super Round before the top two squads compete in the Final to determine a tournament champion.
Mexico, Chinese Taipei and Korea will host Opening Round play while the Super Round will shift to Japan’s Chiba Marine Stadium and the Tokyo Dome with the dome also hosting the Final and bronze medal games.
“Congratulations to the top 12 teams in the world for qualifying into the Premier12,” said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari. “The inaugural WBSC Premier in 2015 was the most-watched international sports event of the year in host nations Chinese Taipei and Japan, and with two teams advancing from Premier12 to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the 2019 Premier12 is set to exceed all previous benchmarks, while building excitement for Tokyo 2020, the Olympic Movement and the sport of baseball itself.”
Canada finished in fifth place at the inaugural Premier 12 event in 2015 falling to Mexico in a quarterfinal match-up after going undefeated (5-0) through the Opening Round.
WBSC is also set to increase prize money distribution for the second edition of Premier12, and award the most world ranking points of any international baseball competition.