WBSC rubberstamps new discipline, forms marketing arm

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has approved the formation of its new Baseball5 discipline and created a new company to manage its media and sponsorship rights.

Baseball5 will serve as the WBSC’s third official discipline after baseball and softball. The organisation said the move will allow it to “explore endless opportunities for development” surrounding the discipline, details of which were revealed earlier this month.

Baseball5 features five-inning games with five players on each team and the sport can be played on any surface. Distance between the bases is 13 metres. The move is designed to help secure baseball and softball’s long-term future on the Olympic Games programme.

Baseball and softball will be contested at the Tokyo 2020 summer Olympics in what will mark the sports' first appearances at a Games since Beijing 2008. The sports’ long-term future on the Olympic programme after Tokyo is not assured and a bid is currently being drawn up for Paris 2024.

On the WBSC’s bid for Paris 2024 inclusion, the organisation’s president Riccardo Fraccari said: “This is an exciting time for our sport, working together with the French Federation of Baseball and Softball to cement our place on the Olympic programme. With our Olympic comeback already confirmed at Tokyo 2020, we feel we are in an ideal position to showcase our strengths looking forward to Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028.”

Meanwhile, the WBSC executive board has cleared the way for the founding of Base, the in-house company that will manage the organisation’s media and sponsorship rights.