IOC approves baseball/softball stadium for 2020
Fri 9 Dec 2016
The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has welcomed the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to approve the 30,000-seat Yokohama Stadium as the main venue for baseball and softball events at the Olympic Games in Japan in 2020.
Approximately 25 miles south of Tokyo and located in the city centre, Yokohama Stadium is the home of the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) club Yokohama DeNA BayStars.
This is the stadium where the GB Women’s Fastpitch Softball Team and the GB Senior Baseball Team, which are building their programmes towards Olympic Qualifying Tournaments in 2019, hope to be playing in 2020.
WBSC officials conducted inspections of Yokohama Stadium as a potential Olympic venue last July.
WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari said, "The WBSC is delighted with the decision of the International Olympic Committee Executive Board to confirm Yokohama Stadium as a main venue. Yokohama Stadium, with its downtown skyline, will provide a spectacular backdrop for Olympic baseball and softball. This is an exciting day that takes baseball and softball one step further on the historic road to Tokyo 2020."
The stadium, in a city of 3.7 million people, features a "natural grass" look, but the entire field is fitted with a next-generation artificial turf, with dirt cut-outs around the bases, a pitcher's mound and home plate circle.
Collaboration will now continue between the WBSC and Tokyo 2020 on the tournament format, the venue plan and how a game or games in Fukushima could potentially be realised. Final proposals to the IOC are expected in 2017, but the venue process for baseball and softball events has been generating a media buzz in Japan and internationally.
The WBSC will also confirm the qualification formats for the Olympic baseball and softball tournaments in early 2017.