With tonight’s historic World Baseball Classic championship game between Japan and the United States concluding the 2023 edition of the classic, the baseball world was already given confirmation as to when we can expect the next classic to take place.

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred announced the 2026 WBC prior to the 2023 WBC Final saying it will “100% be returning”. The 2026 WBC will be the sixth edition of the classic, with the first being in 2006, and subsequent classics being held in 2009, 2013, 2017, and of course 2023. 

The 2026 WBC was put in the 2022 Collective Bargaining Agreement, so it is unknown if this three-year cycle will continue to hold up post-2026, or if the classic will go back to being held every four years. 

With the 2023 WBC being the first to be expanded to 20 teams, the first 16 teams have qualified for the 2026 WBC through the pool play standings. Those countries are:

  • The Kingdom of the Netherlands
  • Cuba
  • Italy
  • Panama
  • Australia
  • Czech Republic
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • United States
  • Mexico
  • Canada
  • Great Britain
  • Puerto Rico
  • Venezuela
  • Israel
  • Dominican Republic

As a result of placing in fifth place of their respective pools, Nicaragua, China, Chinese Taipei, and Colombia will need to requalify for the 2026 Classic through the 2025 WBC Qualifiers. It is currently unknown whether Major League Baseball plans to expand the WBC again in advance of the next tournament. The locations of the four pools are also unknown.

While this amazing tournament comes to a close tonight in Miami, baseball fans can rejoice as we look toward the next classic in three years.


(Photo via WBALTV)

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