LAUSANNE, Switzerland — The World Baseball Softball Confederation announced the expansion of television coverage for the XIV Women’s Softball World Championship, which is currently being staged from August 15-24, in Europe for the first-time ever — marking a major landmark for the global growth of the women’s sport.
The 16-nation world championship in Haarlem will now have added coverage of both the bronze and gold medal games live this Sunday, in response to overwhelming viewer demand for the women’s softball global showcase.
TV Tokyo has obtained the exclusive broadcast rights for Japan to its 32 million potential viewers.
The United States will provide wide coverage of the event on an array of networks. Comcast Sports Network and Cox Sports Network will broadcast games to their viewership in 10 regions.
ESPN3 will also offer the medal games on their streaming platform to their more than 90 million subscribers.
The expanded coverage announcement is considered by WBSC to be a huge boost for women’s sport and baseball and softball’s unified case for potential Olympic inclusion.
Dale McMann, ISF President and WBSC Executive Vice President hailed the announcement.
“This is truly an exciting development and major boost that further raises the profile and confirms the appeal of women’s sport — and in particular women’s softball — in the eyes of broadcasters and audiences alike,” McMann said. “The expanded coverage will allow these athletes at our world championship in Haarlem to showcase their talents — and our sport — to a wider audience, which not only significantly raises the value of our women’s showpiece event but also helps inspire and attract the next generation of girls to our sport over the long-term. The timing of this advancement is particularly key as the WBSC remains dedicated and continues working very hard to position our sports for a return to the Olympic Games.”
ISF and WBSC Secretary General Ms. Beng Choo Low agreed the added coverage is good for promoting the sport.
“The WBSC shares and supports ‘Olympism in Action’ and increasing the number of women in sport, and we are working hard with our partners to maximize broadcast coverage of our women’s world championship, in order to help achieve a sporting landscape that is more appealing, gender-balanced and relevant to women,” she said.
The WBSC, along with other world sport governing bodies, is hoping for the opportunity to be included in future Olympic Games, pending the outcome of the Olympic Agenda 2020 review.
The recently elected WBSC leadership has made it one of its chief priorities to promote gender-equality and to provide more opportunities for girls and women to be empowered through sports that women excel at — like softball — and to harness the skills and leadership of women across all levels of WBSC’s decision-making structure.
The top four teams from the two pools after the completion of round robin play will advance to the playoffs beginning Saturday.
Japan is the defending world champion after defeating the United States 2-1 in extra innings at the 2012 edition.
— courtesy International Softball Federation