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  • WBSC Executive Board Approves E-Baseball/Softball As Discipline


    The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Executive Board (EB) has approved the inclusion of E-Sports as a discipline of baseball and softball, setting the stage for future official E-Baseball and E-Softball international competitions and World Cups/Championships.


    The WBSC Executive Board passed a resolution formally adopting E-Sports as the virtual version of the sport, along with Baseball5 - a five-on-five street version of the sport - and agreed to notify all National Federations of this decision.


    Following E-Sports’ integration into the WBSC Statutes, which will be put forward for approval to the WBSC Congress in 2022, the world governing body will establish the rules and regulations for the governance of E-Baseball and E-Softball competitions, in addition to preparing for the launch of the WBSC’s first E-Game next year.


    It’s unclear when the first baseball-themed video game was released. Most sources seem to suggest some time in the 1970s, but even that remains disputed. What is clear however, is that baseball-themed video-games have remained widely produced and played around the world.

    Some popular titles in the genre include, Sony Interactive Entertainment’s MLB The Show franchise, and MLB Advanced Media’s R.B.I Baseball franchise. Baseball also featured in the popular Nintendo video game Wii Sports.


    Interest in baseball-themed video games hasn’t gone unnoticed by the WBSC, with President Riccardo Fraccari stating, “The WBSC looks forward to more progressive innovation in the dynamic and youth-focused space of E-Sports, which will potentially expand the reach of our sport to millions of gamers and fans. Advancing future-oriented initiatives such as online/virtual competitions will support the development of baseball and softball -- and all disciplines under them -- for many years to come."


    The World Baseball Softball Confederation isn’t alone in looking towards E-Sports as a means and medium to further grow their sport. With the Covid-19 pandemic bringing most international sports to halt, many international federations have looked to the virtual world to promote and grow their sports.

    The Union Cycliste International (UCI) recently held their inaugural Cycling Esports World Championship, which featured 54 women’s and 78 men’s riders respectively. World Sailing sanctioned an entire eSaling World Cup, and held an eSailing World Championship earlier this year. The Federation Internationale De Ski recently announced its own ESports Alpine World Ski Championships, which will be held in February 2021.


    The importance of establishing a virtual version of baseball/softball was underscored by Fraccari, who stated, “The welcoming of E-Sports into the WBSC family comes at a critical time, considering the fast-evolving digital world in which we live and the ongoing global pandemic.”


    The affect of the Covid-19 pandemic on baseball/softball has been substantial. The WBSC have had to cancel and postpone multiple age level World Cups that were due to held this year. The postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games has also delayed the return of baseball and softball to the Olympic program.

    Notably, baseball was one of the sports included on the Tokyo 2020 Official Video Game. The World Baseball Softball Confederation will be hoping that more attention is brought to the sport as a consequence of its inclusion at the Olympic Games.

    Softball is scheduled to be the first sport to get underway in Tokyo, with the first match scheduled to begin at 9:00 (local time) on July 21, 2020.



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