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WBSC extends MLB partnership for World Baseball Classic

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has extended its partnership with North America’s Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) for the staging of the World Baseball Classic national team event.

Under the agreement, World Baseball Classic Inc. (WBCI), a company created by MLB and MLBPA to operate the competition, will continue to organise the 2017 edition of the tournament. The partnership will cover qualifying rounds that will be held in 2016 as well as the World Baseball Classic event in 2017.

The tournament, which will be recognised by the WBSC as its official men’s Baseball World Championship, will feature the top nations in the WBSC Baseball World Rankings. A total of 28 teams from around the world are due to compete.

“This is a very exciting time for baseball's continued globalisation and positioning,” WBSC president Riccardo Fraccari said. “WBSC is absolutely delighted that Major League Baseball, one of the most iconic brands in all of sport, shares this vision and is committed to showcasing our sport to global audiences and to developing the national team brands through the World Baseball Classic.

“Through this successful partnership, the World Baseball Classic has helped to elevate the popularity, value and attractiveness of national team properties and gives the fans another great opportunity to see some of their favourite players playing for their countries.”

Tony Petitti, chief operating officer of MLB, added: “Since its inception in 2006 the World Baseball Classic has been the premier international baseball tournament which features the best players from around the world facing off against each other for their countries.”