HAVANA, Cuba — On the street alongside historic Estadio Latinoamerico, the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) launched the first-ever official urban version of baseball and softball, “Baseball5”.
Participants in the Baseball5 #PlayEverywhere launch event came from four of Havana’s universities.
The rollout of new Baseball5 discipline aims to bring an attractive, smaller, fast-paced and dynamic variation of the traditional game that can be played almost anywhere, not requiring acres of land, major venue set-up, bats or gloves – just a rubber ball.
Under President Riccardo Fraccari, the WBSC has set up an ambitious strategic-plan aimed at being a long-term Olympic Sport and growing the baseball/softball global footprint from approximately 200 million fans and players today to over 1 billion over the next decade.
“We are launching this new version to attract young people – the millennials – the new generation,” said WBSC Global Ambassador for Baseball Antonio Castro. “As the world governing body, we have to plan new things for new times in order to make young people want to practice this sport.”
One university participant said: “It’s a modern trend, traditional sports looking for new attractive variants, and I think that in this case, [Baseball5] can be fruitful and raise a lot of expectations.”
Following the global launch in Havana, where a short promotional video is also currently being produced, Fraccari said the WBSC plans to stage Baseball5 demonstrations next year in Paris, Rome and New York.
With baseball and softball successfully added to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, WBSC leaders are looking for an encore at the Paris 2024 Games.
Baseball and softball have been invited to be part of the activities of the Youth Olympic Games 2018, and Fraccari also plans to stage Baseball5 at the youth sport showcase in Buenos Aires.