Press Release by WBSC
LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Austria is the latest nation to invest in the future and growth of baseball worldwide, as ground has broken for the construction of an international standard baseball facility in Wels, northern Austria, neighboring the Czech Republic and Germany.
The planned baseball facility and training center is part of a new sports complex with an overall budget of €7 million (US $7.6 million), which will also see the creation of three new football (soccer)/multipurpose fields.
The new baseball stadium, projected to be completed by the end of the year, will be the home of the Jumpin’ Chickens Baseball Club that was founded in 1991.
The new venue that will serve Austria’s northern community can potentially play host to future international competitions, given its strategic Central European location and the plans of the facility to meet international standards.
Austria has made some of the biggest gains of WBSC’s 141 member states in terms of their status among baseball’s official world rankings, surging from being No. 55 in the world in 2012 to their current rank of No. 39.
Among WBSC’s nearly 40 member nations in Europe, the nation of approximately 8.5 million people is ranked No. 11 within Europe.
In late July, Austria will be hosting the six-nation 2015 CEB European Championship “B Pool” Qualifier in Vienna, where the host nation, No. 22 Israel, No. 53 Sweden, No. 57 Lithuania, No. 61 Poland and No. 62 Belarus will unite.
With baseball and softball’s steady rise in popularity around the globe, in addition to the planned ballpark in Austria, new baseball/softball facilities are being rolled out in such nations as the Bahamas, Brazil, China, Netherlands, South Africa, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Also new-builds are planned for established baseball territories like Canada, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua and Venezuela – and in South Korea and Taiwan, where the first-ever domed baseball stadiums are currently taking shape in those countries.
Based on data compiled, the WBSC, the world governing body of baseball and softball, estimates that over 65 million athletes, from over 140 countries, practice either the sport of baseball or softball, with younger populations and females making up key segments of the participation-demographic.
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