June 9, 2009 / 10:54 AM / 10 years ago

Olympics-Baseball is a natural fit for Games - federation chief

HALLE, Germany, June 9 (Reuters) - Baseball, working towards Olympic reinstatement, has growing global and commercial appeal which make it a natural fit for future Games, international federation chief Harvey Schiller said on Tuesday.

“If baseball was not vying for the Olympic Games, it would be a sport the Olympics would probably seek to include because of its global impact, the revenue potential, its all-inclusive nature, its youth participation and its affordability,” Schiller told the Around the Rings website.

In 2005, baseball and softball became the first sports to be cut from the Olympic programme since 1936 and will not feature at the next Olympic Games in London in 2012.

Baseball is one of seven sports vying for Olympic entry for the 2016 Games as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) seeks to modernise its Olympic programme.

Karate, softball, squash, golf, rugby and rollersports are the other candidates for up to two places on the programme with a decision set for October.

Schiller said 2016 bid cities — Chicago, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro and Madrid — already had the necessary facilities to stage baseball competitions.

“Baseball’s global year-round presence makes it the only global sport not on the 2012 programme and with the bid cities for 2016 all baseball-ready, it is a natural fit,” he said.

“We are one of only a handful of sports that are played and talked about in the media in most of the world year-round,” he added.

“We present a huge marketing platform for the Olympics for the next seven years through the exposure professional baseball receives in most of the world.”

The IOC is eager to revamp the programme to attract younger fans and viewers but has said no new major construction should be required for any new sport seeking to come in.

Editing by Clare Fallon; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com

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