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2009 World Baseball Classic to contribute more than $15 million to international baseball federations

Supports tournament mission of growing the game worldwide

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World Baseball Classic, Inc. (WBCI) will distribute more than $15 million in proceeds from the 2009 World Baseball Classic to the participating federations and the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), it was announced today. The prize pool for the participating teams will be $14 million, which is nearly double the $7.8 million that was awarded after the inaugural event. In addition, the IBAF, the worldwide governing body for the sport of baseball, will receive over $1 million to invest in game development globally.

As in 2006, each federation will use a significant portion of their award to support existing game development programs and create new grassroots initiatives in their countries, contributing to the World Baseball Classic's mission of fostering the growth of the game around the world.

"Baseball continues to grow globally and the World Baseball Classic is the perfect showcase for fans around the world to witness the excitement of our great game," said Commissioner of Baseball Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "The distribution of tournament proceeds will help grow baseball internationally by providing the necessary funds to support grassroots programs and elite level competitions worldwide."

"The World Baseball Classic allows us to give more and greater support to the efforts to grow baseball around the world," stated Donald M. Fehr, Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association. "This year we will nearly double the World Baseball Classic contribution to our partner country federations and institutions all over the globe. We are proud of this event and what it enables us to do."

"Baseball is a sport for all and the money raised by the World Baseball Classic will go to our 127 member federations on six continents to continue the growth of the game," said Dr. Harvey Schiller, President, International Baseball Federation. "The World Baseball Classic doesn't just raise the awareness of baseball; it enhances programs that teach healthy living, teamwork and social equality. We are grateful to all involved for their assistance."

Awards for each participating team will be distributed based on advancement in the tournament. Teams are guaranteed a minimum of $300,000 for participating, while the 2009 World Baseball Classic Champion will receive a minimum of $2.7 million. Guaranteed awards by round are as follows: Tournament Champion - $2.7 million
Tournament Runner-Up - $1.7 million
Eliminated in Semi-Finals (Two Teams) - $1.2 million
Eliminated Round Two (Four Teams) - $700,000
Eliminated Round One (Eight Teams) - $300,000

In addition, the four teams that win the pool championship games, the final games of each pool of Round One, will receive an additional $300,000 bonus and first place seeding for Round Two. The two teams that win the pool championship games, the final games of each pool of Round Two, will receive a $400,000 bonus and first place seeding in the two Semi-Final games.

The 2009 World Baseball Classic begins in Tokyo on March 5 as defending Tournament Champion Team Japan takes on Team China in the first game of Pool A.

About World Baseball Classic, Inc.
World Baseball Classic, Inc. 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 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. In March 2006, 486 players (235 of them from MLB organizations) representing 16 teams from across the globe competed in the inaugural event. More than 740,000 fans from 48 states and 15 countries attended games (16 of which sold out) and millions more watched on TV as Team Japan was crowned the first-ever World Baseball Classic Champion. The inaugural tournament was broadcast by 48 media outlets in 10 languages to 205 countries and territories around the world. Media members representing 25 different nations attended the 39 games in seven host venues across three countries/territories. The upcoming World Baseball Classic will be played from March 5 - 23 and will again feature 16 of the greatest baseball-playing nations in the world. The tournament will be held every four years thereafter, with plans in place to expand the participant field beginning in 2013.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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