The organisers of the World Baseball Classic (WBC) have confirmed that Japan and Korea will host the 1st round matches of the 2017 event, which kicks off in March.
This will mark the first time Korea has hosted a WBC tournament; with the host nation to be joined by The Netherlands and Chinese Taipei, with the fourth spot to be awarded to the winner of the September 22-25 qualifier at Brooklyn’s MCU Park – between Brazil, Great Britain, Israel and Pakistan – at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul.
Japan, a two-time WBC champion, will host Cuba, China and Australia at the Tokyo Dome.
The other two first-round pools for the 16-team field are expected to take place in the Western Hemisphere, although officials have not yet announced where. In each of the previous three WBC tournaments, both the semi-finals and finals were held in the United States. Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Italy, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the United States and Venezuela will comprise the remaining two pools.
Seoul’s successful bid to host first-round games is a boon for Korean baseball, not least as the Gocheok Sky Dome is not yet one-year-old.
This World Baseball Classic news comes at the beginning of what could be a watershed week for baseball on the global stage; as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) readies itself to vote on the possible inclusion of baseball (and softball) as Olympic sports for the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.
About the 1st round Asian host venues for the 2017 WBC
The Gocheok Sky Dome is a domed baseball stadium located in Gocheok-dong, Seoul, South Korea. It is the home ballpark for the Nexen Heroes. The 17,000-capacity stadium is primarily used for baseball games but also serves as a concert venue, with a capacity for around 22,000 spectators. The new venue replaces the original Dongdaemun Baseball Stadium and opened on September 15, 2015.
Image (top): Seoul Metropolitan Government
The Tokyo Dome is Japan’s first domed stadium, opened on March 17, 1988. The venue hosts baseball games and various other events throughout the year. The stadium is ‘home’ to the Yomiuri Giants and hosts more than 60 professional baseball games annually. It has also hosted many international baseball games, including a Major League Baseball (MLB) season opening game, Japanese-American baseball games, and the World Baseball Classic.
Image (above): Copyright TOKYO DOME CORPORATION
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