WBSC President Fraccari: "We are a fantastic sporting family"

WBSC President Fraccari: "We are a fantastic sporting family"
The opening speech of the third WBSC Congress focused on globalization and the need of making the games of baseball and softball up to date and appealing for the younger generations

"More than two years have passed since the Botswana Congress. There are no more than eight months left until the opening of the Tokyo Olympic Games."

WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari addressed the third WBSC Congress talking about what baseball and softball need to do in order to become permanent members of the Olympic Programme: "The globalization of baseball and softball and the quality of our tournaments."

"Globalisation is synonymous with development," Fraccari said. "In the last few months, we have worked hard to include baseball and softball in the Continental Games. I also think about the Asian Games in 2022 in Hangzhou, China, and the Pan American Games in 2023 in Santiago, Chile."

Fraccari commented: "It was not easy. These difficulties derive precisely from the meagre development of our disciplines in the countries that will host these Continental Games."

The WBSC President also emphasised the role of the Continental Associations: "We must redefine and strengthen the role of the Continental Associations, think of a revision of our Statutes in order to have them actively present in the WBSC Executive." The goal is to "design and implement together a really comprehensive and thorough development plan."

Fraccari praised the "articulated marketing and restructuring" of WBSC events. The resources that come from the event have been used to consolidate "our sport and disciplines in some countries" and even "created the basis for the birth of new federations."

"Development," added Fraccari, "involves another fundamental aspect: youth appeal and youth involvement." He then quoted IOC President Thomas Bach: "we must anticipate change in order to drive it, otherwise we will have to chase the change.

"We have to think about whether our disciplines are still attractive today. We know well that today young people live and consume sport differently from the past.

"Here then is the need for our games to be faster, shorter. The need to dress the sporting events with collateral initiatives. Any simple game shall turn into an event."

President Fraccari spoke about the commitment of the WBSC to use new media such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as communications instruments. "Across our social platforms combined we touched over 300 million people. Thanks to exclusive partnerships with Twitter in Japan and Facebook in USA, Canada and Mexico, Premier12 doubled its social media reach from its previous and already impressive inaugural edition."

"Another interesting figure," continued Fraccari "is the over 16,000 articles published by conventional media on the Premier12 during competition time. This means over 1,000 articles a day just about our flagship event."

"Today more than ever it is essential that our competitions, above all the major ones,
are capable of producing resources to spread and develop our disciplines," said Fraccari. "Otherwise all our projects will remain on paper only. We have paid particular attention on how to generate resources on our own. Today, thanks to a scrupulous management of our federation and to a rigorous use of our resources, we can say that we have reached an economic stability that allows us to look to the future with a little more serenity."

On a final note, Fraccari said: "Together with our baseball and softball sporting platform and exciting competitions we can continue to move forward and provide first-class events that will increasingly globalise our disciplines, attract new sponsors, generate more resources but above all will develop the baseball and softball athletes of the future. We are a fantastic sporting family."