WBSC strengthens membership with 202 National Federations and Associate Members across 143 countries and territories worldwide
The World Baseball Softball Confederation has approved the memberships of PONY Baseball and Softball, the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) and the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League (LVBP).
The three new Associate Members were confirmed alongside new National Federations for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sint Maarten and Tanzania at the WBSC Congress in Gaborone, Botswana, raising WBSC’s global membership to 202 members across 143 countries and territories, including 193 National Federations and 9 Associate Members.
“The inclusion of these new Associate Members represents another key step forward in uniting, growing and serving our sport under one collective vision,” said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari. “These new partners will join our World Baseball Softball family and our mission to grow our sport from 200 million players and fans in approximately 140 countries to 1 billion players and fans in 200 countries — emerging into one of the world’s premier major global sports.”
WBSC Members — From Youth to Pro
The eight-team Liga Venezolana de Béisbol Profesional (LVBP) is the top sports league and highest form of baseball in Venezuela, where baseball is the most popular sport. LVBP players are regularly featured on the Venezuelan National Team in major WBSC-sanctioned competitions.
“The LVBP is honoured to join the WBSC family and vision, and help play our role in growing the sport to 1 billion people over the next decade, which is mutually beneficial to all baseball stakeholders,” said LVBP President Juan Jose Avila.
Based in Washington, Pennsylvania, PONY is one of the biggest youth sports organisers in the world, annually representing more than half a million boys and girls on youth baseball and softball clubs/leagues in Asia, Africa, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Oceania.
“PONY is honoured to be selected as an Associate Member of the World Baseball Softball Confederation,” said Abraham Key, President and CEO of PONY Baseball and Softball. “PONY shares WBSC’s global vision and is committed to promoting and growing baseball and softball globally.”
Viera, Florida-based USSSA is a multi-sport athletic association, organising and hosting elite competitions across various sports. WBSC also awarded USSSA the rights to host the VIII WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup 2018.
“USSSA is celebrating its 50th Anniversary as well as the Grand Opening of our new home – the Space Coast Stadium & Complex — so this welcomed honour and responsibility to help globalise baseball and softball as a WBSC Associate Member couldn’t have come at a better time,” said USSSA Chairman of the Board and CEO, Don DeDonatis.
Currently, the total number of WBSC Associate Members is nine, including the Australia Baseball League (ABL), Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL), Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), the Mexican Pacific League (LMP), Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), PONY Baseball and Softball, Puerto Rico’s Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League (LBPRC), USSSA and the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League (LVBP).