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Marlins Park to play host to 2021 WBC semifinals, final

The semifinals and final of the 2021 World Baseball Classic will be held at Marlins Park in Miami, Florida, with Taiwan, Tokyo, and Phoenix, Arizona, also getting earlier-round games in the global baseball tournament.

The fifth edition of the tournament, co-owned and jointly run by Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association, is scheduled for March 9-23, 2021. The event will expand from its prior format of 16 teams to 20 next year that will include the 16 participants from the 2017 tournament plus four qualifiers to be determined next month at a preliminary event in Tucson, Arizona.

The staging of the climactic WBC games at Marlins Park, home of MLB’s Miami Marlins, represents the first time the event has concluded on the US East Coast following prior placements at Petco Park in San Diego, California (2006), Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles (2009, 2017), and what is now Oracle Park in San Francisco, California (2013).

Taiwan will play host to one five-team WBC grouping for early-round games next year, and Tokyo will get a second grouping. Winners in those two groups will advance to quarterfinals that will also be in Tokyo. 

The third and fourth early-stage groupings will be in Phoenix, and Miami, respectively, with the quarterfinals for advancing teams out of those groups to be also be held at Marlins Park.

With this schedule for 2021, Marlins Park becomes the first venue to stage games in all three rounds of a single WBC.

“Being select to host all three rounds, including the finals, reaffirms Miami’s place as a global destination for all the biggest events, and Marlins Park is the ideal world-class entertainment venue to play host,” said Derek Jeter, Marlins chief executive. “The excitement and passion on display in Marlins Park during the last World Baseball Classic showed what we already knew to be true about this market – that South Florida has an undying love for their heritage and the game of baseball.”

The US team will be defending its title after winning the 2017 WBC. The Dominican Republic won in 2013, while Japan took the first two event titles. The WBC has become the premier international baseball tournament after the sport has been out of the regular Olympics rotation since 2008, in part due to long-running scheduling conflicts between MLB and the IOC. 

Baseball, however, will be played this summer at the 2020 Tokyo Games as the sport is a core part of the culture of host nation Japan.