BASEBALL, SOFTBALL OLYMPIC APPEAL HIGHLIGHTED BY RECORD-ATTENDANCE FOR SOFTBALL AT TOKYO DOME
WBSC in LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- The opening game of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) -sanctioned international softball series between world's No. 1 Japan and No. 2 United States attracted a record crowd of 31,448 fans to the iconic Tokyo Dome, reinforcing the sport's rapid growth and its universal appeal.
It was the first time in history that an international, elite softball competition was held in the Tokyo Dome, which is the home of the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball. Japan, the 2008 Olympic gold medalists, defeated USA, the 2004 Olympic gold medalists, 5-1. The three-game international softball showcase was staged in Japan from 23-25 June and won by Japan. Officials from the Organising Committee of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games were in attendance to observe the opening game.
"Baseball and softball's global reach and loyal fan-base, especially among young people and women, combined with its popularity across many of the biggest markets in the sports industry, including Japan, offers a unique opportunity to further spread and elevate the Olympic brand, while connecting it with new audiences and more young people," WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari said. "The unprecedented success of this three-game series further highlights baseball and softball's growing international appeal."
A final vote on the composition of the sports programme for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will be taken at the IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro in August, and, if approved, it would constitute "the most comprehensive evolution of the Olympic programme in modern history," according to a recent IOC statement following the IOC Executive Board's unanimous vote to recommend baseball/softball among a new sports package for the Olympic Games in 2020.
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