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III Premier12 2024 presented by RAXUS - Official Payoff
One year to go: III WBSC Premier12 presented by RAXUS opens 10 November 2024
10/11/2023 2 Minute Read

One year to go: III WBSC Premier12 presented by RAXUS opens 10 November 2024

The WBSC's flagship baseball tournament will open in the Americas (location TBC) and Taipei City (TPE) before closing at the Tokyo Dome in Japan. The WBSC launched the concept of the event in 2013. The first edition was played from 8 to 21 November, 2015. The second edition took place from 2 to 17 November, 2019.

One year from now, the third edition of the WBSC Premier12 presented by RAXUS will take place from 10-24 November with Group A taking place from 10-14 November in the Americas (host country, city and venue to be announced at a later date).

Group B will then open at the Nagoya Dome, the home of the Chinichi Dragons of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), on 13 November. Taipei City will host the rest of the games through to 18 November.

The Tokyo Dome will host the Super Round (21-23 November) between the top two finishers of each group. The medal games are scheduled for 24 November.

"After two extremely successful editions in 2015 and 2019, we're looking forward to the third instalment next year with some magnificent host cities and venues thanks to our phenomenal hosts and partners," commented WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari.

Japan will host the most important games of the WBSC flagship baseball event for the third consecutive time. NPB Commissioner Sadayuki Sakakibara said: "It is a great honour and pleasure to host the WBSC Premier12 in Japan three consecutive times. I believe that NPB can contribute to the development of baseball worldwide by fully demonstrating the appeal of our sport."

The top 12 baseball programmes in the WBSC Men's Baseball World Rankings on 31 December 2023 will participate in the III Premier12 with six teams split into each Opening Round group.

Premier12 history

The International Baseball Federation (IBAF) announced the intention of merging with the International Softball Federation (ISF) into the WBSC and the concept of a new tournament involving the top 12 baseball programmes in the world at the end of the IBAF 2013 Congress.

"We had agreed to award the title of Baseball World Champion through the World Baseball Classic once it ceased being an invitational tournament and had cancelled the Intercontinental Cup," WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari recalled. "Some Federations feared this would reduce the opportunity to play at the world level so we shaped it as a 12-team tournament.

"We thought choosing the top international baseball programmes would magnify the importance of the whole international activity for our National Federations," President Fraccari added.

The first edition of the Premier12 opened at the Sapporo Dome on 8 November 2015. Japan defeated Korea, 5-0, playing a solid game behind a dominating Shohei Ohtani.

The two powerhouses met again in the semifinals in front of a 40,000-strong crowd at the Tokyo Dome. Ohtani threw eight masterful innings, striking out nine and leaving with a 3-0 lead. The Japanese bullpen couldn't stick to the lead. Slugger Dae-Ho Lee capped a ninth inning rally with a two-RBI single to help Korea claim a dramatic 4-3 win.

Korea, at the time ranked No. 8 in the world, went on to beat the United States in the final and earned the inaugural Premier12 title.

Four years later Japan dominated the second edition on home soil.

Samurai Japan had to come back from an early deficit in the final against Korea. Future Olympic gold medallist Tetsuto Yamada put Japan ahead in the bottom of the second with a three-run homer off Korea's superstar starter Yang Hyeonjong.

Japan stuck to the lead and won the final, 5-3.

“Each game has been very challenging, but our players have worked in a very persistent manner, and this allowed us to win the event,” commented Samurai Japan manager Atsunori Inaba after the final.

"Since I became manager of the Japanese National Team two years ago, our goal has been to win the Premier12 and the Olympics next year," added Inaba. "I think all the players in our team had the same determination to become world number one."

The manager would lead Japan to an historic gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in the summer of 2021.

The second Premier12 showcased high-profile baseball. The level of pitching was first-class. The tournament's earned run average (ERA) decreased by almost one run (0.91) from 2015 to 2019, from 4.37 to 3.46.

The WBSC distributed a total amount of US$5,2m among the 12 participating teams, marking a 40% increase over the inaugural edition. The champion, Japan, received a total of US$1,6m.

As per WBSC guidelines, a minimum of 50 percent of a team's prize money is to be distributed equally among the players on the 28-man roster.