The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has revealed plans to further expand the growth of baseball in the wider Asian market with the launch of new event the Women’s Baseball Asian Cup.
The Baseball Federation of Asia (BFA), a continental arm of WBSC, together with the Hong Kong Baseball Association will host the inaugural six-nation competition from September 2-7 in Hong Kong.
The event will be staged every two years, in the year prior to the Women’s Baseball World Cup. The four highest-placed teams at this year’s tournament will qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
The women’s national teams of Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Japan and Pakistan are all scheduled to feature in this year’s debut competition.
WBSC president Riccardo Fraccari (pictured) said: “Women's baseball continues to be one of our sport's fastest growing areas in terms of player participation, and commercial and media interest. The global broadcast reach of last year’s Women’s Baseball World Cup topped 100 million households for the first time ever and was one of our most watched national team events of 2016.”
The launch of the event comes ahead of the return of baseball and softball to the Olympics at the 2020 summer Games in Tokyo, Japan.
Fraccari added: “There is enormous potential in this exciting discipline, and WBSC commends BFA for launching this important new platform in response to our sport's continued expansion.”
Women’s baseball made its historic debut at a multi-sports event at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games.