Dates and host ballparks have been announced for the 2021 World Baseball Classic, as the fifth installment of the event will take place in March 2021.
The fifth installment of the WBC, which will be played from March 9-23, 2021, will take place at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taichung, Taiwan and the Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium in Taoyuan, Taiwan; the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan; Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, in Phoenix, Arizona; and Marlins Park, home of the Miami Marlins, in Miami, Florida.
In 2021, the field of teams will expand to 20 for the first time in WBC history. The 16 teams that participated in the 2017 WBC – Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Israel, Italy, Japan, The Kingdom of the Netherlands, Korea, Mexico, Puerto Rico, United States, and Venezuela – will be invited to return for the 2021 iteration and will be joined by four teams advancing from the 2020 Qualifiers, which will be held in Tucson, Arizona from March 13th-25th. The 2021 WBC will feature pools of five teams in the first round for round-robin play. The top two teams in each of the four first round pools will advance to the quarterfinals, while the top two teams from each quarterfinal pool will advance to the Championship Round.
Taichung and Taoyuan will host Pool A contests at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium and Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium from March 9th-13th. This marks the second time that Taiwan will host WBC contests, joining 2013.
“We’d like to thank Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association for awarding the hosting rights of the 2021 World Baseball Classic to Taichung,” said Jeny Chang, Vice Chairman of One Dream Event Marketing Co., LTD. “We’d also like to thank the Taichung City Government, Mayor Lu, Taoyuan City Government, Mayor Cheng and the commissioner of CTBA, Jeffrey Koo, for their support, allowing Taichung and Taoyuan to host a world class sporting event. We look forward to a successful 2021 World Baseball Classic, and all the best to the home team, Chinese Taipei!”
The Tokyo Dome, which has hosted pools in each of the previous four World Baseball Classics (2006, 2009, 2013 and 2017), will again be home to first round (Pool B) and quarterfinal games in 2021. The quarterfinals on March 16th-17th will feature the top two teams from Pool B along with the two teams advancing from Pool A in Taiwan.
“We are very proud to host the World Baseball Classic games once again. Tokyo is the only place that has hosted games for five consecutive tournaments, and we take great pride in that,” said Chieko Fukushi, Managing Director and Chief Officer, Culture & Sports Projects of Yomiuri Shimbun. “We thank WBC Inc. for appointing us as the promoter, and we assure you that the Tokyo Dome will continue to bring great excitement to baseball fans all over the world.”
Chase Field returns as a World Baseball Classic host in 2021 after serving as a first round venue in 2006 and 2013. The games for Pool C will be played from March 13th-17th.
“We are thrilled to once again host World Baseball Classic games at Chase Field,” said D-backs President & CEO Derrick Hall. “Arizona continues to shine on an international stage and we look forward to providing the best experience, not only to local baseball fans, but also those from across the country and around the globe as they cheer on the most talented players in the world.”
Marlins Park, which has hosted games in each of the last two WBC tournaments, will become the first venue in event history to host games in all three rounds of a World Baseball Classic in the same year. Pool D of the first round will run from March 14th-18th. The North American quarterfinals, including the teams advancing from Pool C and D, will take place on March 19th-March 20th, while the semi-finals and finals will be played from March 21st-23rd.
“Being selected 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 Marlins CEO Derek Jeter. “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. We are proud to welcome fans from across the globe to Marlins Park for this event, and we are excited to show off all the new enhancements we have made to the ballpark since the tournament was last played here.”
The World Baseball Classic is sanctioned by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) as the sport’s official National Team World Championship.
Image from 2017 courtesy Marlins Park.