Women’s Baseball World Cup coming to Viera


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The USSSA Space Coast Complex will host the Women's Baseball World Classic in August. With players from 12 teams from around the world, plus coaches and support staff, families and fans coming to Brevard County, the impact on local businesses could be huge.

VIERA VOICE Courtesy of USSSA

 

A major baseball tournament will be coming to the USSSA Space Coast Complex in August.

And the world will be watching.

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has announced that Viera will be the site of the 2018 Women’s Baseball World Cup, which will take place Aug. 22 to 31.

It will mark the first time a baseball world cup has been played in the United States.

“It’s a really big deal for us, and for the community,” said Jami Lobpries, Vice President of Marketing for the USSSA. “You’re going to have 11 countries, plus the United States (team) coming in, so it’s good exposure.

“But I think one of the biggest things for us is the long-term relationship that we want to build with the WBSC. This could definitely lead to more opportunities for international events, where you have Olympic qualifiers, different world cups.

“We’re hoping to put on a good show, expose the WBSC to Brevard County and this community and (have it) lead to more events with them.”

This will be the eighth women’s baseball world championship, which was launched in 2004 and is held every two years. The 2016 tournament was held in Gijang, Korea and, according to a press release, was broadcast to approximately 100 million households and had an online viewership of more than six million views from 198 countries and territories.

This year’s tournament will feature 12 teams including Japan, winner of five consecutive world championships, and the Dominican Republic, which will be making its first appearance in the Women’s Baseball World Cup.

The field has already been divided into groups. The United States, ranked No. 3 in the world, is in Group A along with Venezuela (No. 5), Chinese Taipei (No. 6), Korea (No. 7), the Netherlands (No. 8) and Puerto Rico (unranked), which is making its first appearance since 2010.

A loaded Group B includes No. 1 Japan and No. 2 Canada, as well as Australia (No. 4), Cuba (No. 9), Hong Kong (No. 10) and the Dominican Republic (unranked).

The potential short and long-term financial impact for Brevard County could be huge.

“Of all the possible locations in the United States, the WBSC chose Viera on Florida’s Space Coast to host this important event,” Eric Garvey, Executive Director of Florida’s Space Coast Office of Tourism wrote in an email. “With a worldwide audience, this event will put Viera on the map and showcase the beauty of our area!”

The tourism office, local Chambers of Commerce, the Viera Co., the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office and Brevard County Public Schools are among those who are all part of the plan to help make the tournament a big success.

“The community has already been hugely involved,” said Emily Moak, Director, Space Coast Complex Operations and Event Planning. “We’ve been out and about to local areas and they’ve been very supportive of helping us. … At least we have experience running tournaments, so that helps.

“But definitely, we’ll be leaning on the community for help with different events — opening ceremonies, volunteers, all kinds of things.”

And if all goes well, this could be just the beginning.

“Of course, we’re excited to bring it here,” Lobpries said. “We’re a big part of this community. We’ll be here for at least 20 years. We want people to come out. We want sponsors to be a part of it. We want to show the WBSC that this is a great location, that they should make this their U.S. home.

“That’s our goal. This isn’t just going to be a one-off event. We want this to be a long-term partnership.”