ROME, Italy – The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) today announced the launch of the Softball World Cup flagship brand.
The new Softball World Cup brand identity and tournament system will replace the current Softball World Championships across all categories: Men’s, Women’s, U-19 Men’s and U-19 Women’s.
The major restructuring of softball’s pinnacle international competitions was decided at the WBSC Softball Division Board meeting in Rome, Italy, hosted in the headquarters of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI).
“This new Softball World Cup brand and tournament structure — with continental qualifiers — will be an exciting showcase of the best softball athletes and countries in the world,” said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari. “The new Softball World Cups will boost our long-term Olympic potential and help our mission to grow a one-billion global baseball/softball community over the next decade.”
WBSC Softball Division Chairman Tommy Velazquez said: “The Softball World Cup platform will be positioned to realise maximum global broadcast, commercial and audience growth – providing increased prestige, visibility, and attraction to the sport and the elite athletes who dedicate their lives practicing it. This Softball World Cup system with qualifiers will also raise the value and marketability of our Continental Associations and their competitions.”
As part of the new brand identity and restructuring, the new Softball World Cups will be played every two years and feature:
· 16-team tournament formats for Men’s, Women’s and U-19 Women’s categories, discontinuing the previous open format across all categories
· 12-team tournament format for U-19 Men’s
· Continental Qualifiers:
· Representatives by Continent (16-team Softball World Cup)
· Africa – 2
· Americas -5
· Asia – 3
· Europe – 3
· Oceania – 2
· Wild Card – 1
· Representatives by Continent (12-team Softball World Cup)
· Africa – 1
· Americas -4
· Asia – 2
· Europe – 2
· Oceania – 2
· Wild Card – 1
· “Junior” category renamed “U-19”
Calendar adjustments for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
The final edition of the Women’s Softball World Championship will take place this year in Chiba, Japan. The Women’s Softball World Cup will then launch in 2021 and be played in the year before and after the Summer Olympic Games (i.e., 2021, 2023, etc.).
The next edition of the U-19 Women’s category will continue as previously planned in 2019, before shifting to even years in 2020 to be staged in the year prior to and after the Women’s Softball World Cup (i.e., 2020, 2022, etc.).
The final edition of the Junior Men’s Softball World Championship will be held this year in Prince Albert, SK, Canada. The U-19 Men’s Softball World Cup will then launch in 2021 and be played every two years (i.e., 2021, 2023, etc.).
The next two editions of the Men’s category will be played in 2019 and 2021, before shifting to even years starting in 2022 (i.e., 2022, 2024, 2026, etc.).