The Palm Beach County Sports Commission and Play Treasure Coast Sports Tourism announced plans to host a WBSC Baseball Americas Qualification Event for the Games of the XXXII Olympiad Tokyo 2020 in Palm Beach County from May 31-June 5. The schedule for the qualifier was announced at a press conference at Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on Thursday, April 29. See the full schedule below.
The event will be hosted at two venues – the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach and Clover Park in Port Saint Lucie. The winning nation will earn a spot in the Summer Olympics which will begin this July in Tokyo, Japan.
Eight nations will compete over 16 games for one spot in the six-team Tokyo 2020 Olympic baseball tournament. The nations will be placed into two groups for the opening round. Group A will feature the United States, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Nicaragua while Group B will include Cuba, Venezuela, Canada, and Colombia.
The first round is slated to begin May 31 and end June 3. After group play concludes, the top two finishers from each group will advance to the Super Round on June 5, where they will each play two games. Head-to-head contests among these teams from the opening round will carry over into the Super Round standings.
When the Super Round ends June 6, the team with the best record will be declared the winner and become the fifth National Team to advance to the Tokyo Olympic baseball tournament, joining Japan, Korea, Mexico, and Israel. The second and third-place teams will qualify for the WBSC Baseball Final Qualifier, scheduled from June 16-20 in Taiwan at Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium and Douliou Baseball Stadium in Douliu City.
“The teams and the entire baseball world are all looking forward to this exciting moment to arrive on the road to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020,” said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari. “Now with the dates and venues locked in place, anticipation builds even higher for this important qualifier, which we hope will provide an excellent preview of the Tokyo 2020 Games and what they represent, as a symbol of hope and inspiration.”
The Palm Beach County Sports Commission expects the tournament to make a strong economic impact in Palm Beach County. With eight teams, personnel, and fans, the event brings an added boost to already surging tourism trends. Due in large part to sports events returning to Palm Beach County, hotel occupancy in The Palm Beaches has reached 80% for the first time since pandemic-related restrictions began in March of last year.
“The Olympic spirit is coming to The Palm Beaches,” said George Linley, Executive Director of the Palm Beach County Sports Commission. “The Palm Beach County Sports Commission could not be more honored to add a historic event like the WBSC Baseball Americas Qualification Event for the Games of the XXXII Olympiad Tokyo 2020 to the storied history that is baseball in Palm Beach County.”
The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches might be Palm Beach County’s newest professional baseball facility but it is no stranger to hosting world-class baseball. Two recent World Series champions, the Houston Astros (2017) and Washington Nationals (2019), call the ballpark home each year for their Major League Baseball Spring Training games. Many elite baseball events have also played at the park including the Prospect Select Wave Invitational, Baseball Canada Junior Nationals, Palm Beach Classic, and Perfect Game USA 14U Florida Showcase.
The ballpark contains a total of 13 MLB fields and five multipurpose athletic fields which are covered in beautiful Bermuda grass and cater to soccer, lacrosse, football, rugby, and more. Among the eclectic events that the venue has hosted are Battlepark Mixed Martial Arts, SoFlo Turkey Shootout in lacrosse, The Palm Beach Cup in soccer, and Sunshine Games Ultimate Frisbee.
Tickets for the Olympic Qualifier are available here.