As part of the agreement, MetLife will be the title sponsor of the All-World Baseball Classic Team. The MetLife All-World Baseball Classic Team will be comprised of the best performers at each position during the tournament. Players selected to the previous two teams have included two-time tournament M.V.P. Daisuke Matsuzaka (Pitcher, Japan – 2006 and 2009), Ken Griffey Jr. (Outfielder, USA – 2006), Adrian Beltre (Third baseman, Dominican Republic – 2006) and Hyun-Soo Kim (DH, Korea – 2009).
MetLife’s long experience and expertise in covering premier sporting events from above will allow it to provide dynamic aerial coverage from its blimps – Snoopy One, Snoopy Two and Snoopy J. The MetLife blimps will be flying above all the games played in Phoenix, Arizona; Miami, Florida; Tokyo, Japan and in San Francisco, California. A camera will be in each blimp capturing scenic aerial footage, as well as crucial in-game moments, that will be incorporated into the game broadcasts on MLB Network, ESPN Deportes and the worldwide feed being distributed to more than 200 countries and territories.
To add to the excitement and fan experience at the games, Snoopy, donning a World Baseball Classic jersey, will be making special appearances, interacting with fans and distributing gifts.
“With such a strong presence in the global marketplace, MetLife is well-positioned to illuminate its brand message across the expansive World Baseball Classic platform,” said Paul Archey, Senior Vice President, International Business Operations, Major League Baseball. “MetLife will have a variety of touch points, both inside and outside the tournament venues, fully integrating them into the event program this March.”
“It’s an honor to welcome MetLife to the World Baseball Classic’s roster of Global Sponsors,” said Timothy Slavin, member of the World Baseball Classic Board of Directors. “The World Baseball Classic looks forward to working with MetLife, Snoopy and the entire Peanuts gang to help shine a spotlight on the world’s greatest players competing for national pride and global bragging rights. We’re confident MetLife’s global brand awareness will be enhanced and strengthened by its association with the world’s premier international baseball tournament.”
“Many of the countries fielding World Baseball Classic teams are also countries where MetLife is a leading insurer,” said Richard Hong, vice president of brand, advertising & promotion, MetLife. “With MetLife’s strong presence in Japan and Korea where the sport is widely popular, and with market leading positions in countries like Mexico and the U.S., millions of our customers and thousands of our employees are looking forward to watching some of the world’s best play baseball this March.”
The 2013 World Baseball Classic, which is the third edition of the tournament, will feature the world’s best players representing their countries and territories. Thirty-nine games will be played in seven venues in four nations and territories from March 2 through March 19, 2013. Team Japan is the two-time defending champion of the World Baseball Classic, having won in 2006 and 2009. The World Baseball Classic, which is officially sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), will for the first time in 2013 be recognized as the official national team World Championship, with the winner being crowned the 2013 World Baseball Classic Champion and the IBAF World Champion.
For the first time, four Qualifiers were held for the 2013 World Baseball Classic, which expanded the competitive field from 16 to 28 countries. Brazil, Canada, Chinese Taipei and Spain emerged from the Qualifiers to earn spots in the March 2013 event. Those four Qualifier teams will join the teams of the 12 countries/terrirories – Australia, China, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela – that received automatic invitations based on their performances in the 2009 tournament.
In the United States, MLB Network will be the exclusive English-language broadcast partner for all 39 games while ESPN Deportes will be the Spanish-language partner. The Semi-Final and Final games will take place from March 17-19 at San Francisco’s AT&T Park, hosted by the San Francisco Giants. Second round games will be held in the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan from March 8-12 and at Marlins Park in Miami, Florida from March 12-16. First round games will be held at the Fukuoka Yahoo! Japan Dome in Fukuoka, Japan from March 2-6; at Intercontinental Stadium from March 2-5 in Taichung, Taiwan; at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico from March 7-10; and at Chase Field and Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Phoenix, Arizona from March 7-10.
About the World Baseball Classic
The World Baseball Classic is the premier international baseball tournament, sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation, and features the best players in the world competing for their home countries and territories. More than 1.5 million fans from all over the world have attended the tournament games, held in March 2006 and 2009. Team Japan is the reigning World Baseball Classic Champion, taking home both the inaugural and 2009 titles. The upcoming World Baseball Classic will be played in March 2013 and will again feature the greatest baseball-playing nations in the world. The tournament will be held every four years thereafter.
About World Baseball Classic, Inc.
World Baseball Classic, Inc. (WBCI) is a company created at the direction of Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) to operate the World Baseball Classic tournament. The tournament, which is sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), is supported by MLB, the MLBPA, Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), their respective players associations and other leagues and players from around the world.
About the International Baseball Federation
The International Baseball Federation (IBAF) is the world governing body for baseball, comprising 122 national member federations. Together with its member federations, the IBAF is dedicated to the promotion, development, and organization of baseball around the world. The IBAF is the sole entity recognized by the International Olympic Committee for overseeing and sanctioning all national team competition. The IBAF headquarters are located in Lausanne, Switzerland.
MetLife, Inc. is a leading global provider of insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs, serving 90 million customers. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, New York, NY 10166.
Eric Bynum is Managing Editor here at BaseballdeWorld. He spent three years as an ESL teacher in South Korea, and is now working on his master's degree in history with a focus on baseball and WWII. He has played and/or written about baseball for the past 30 years and is an avid Atlanta Braves fan.