IBAF Lays Out Company Statistics
- Updated: March 14, 2009
As stated earlier in a post on BaseballReflections.com, the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) is making a serious run at attempting to get baseball in the Olympics once again. They have compiled some research over the past months and shared it with Baseball Reflections.
Their organization is a non-profit, volunteer based company, and is considered to be the international sanctioning body for baseball as well as the sports’ representative with the International Olympic Committee. Headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, the IBAF controls the international rules of the game for America’s pastime.
Recently, Dr. Harvey Schiller took over as the head of the IBAF. He has previously worked as the President of Turner Sports, the Commissioner of the Southeast Conference, the President of YankeeNets and as the Chief Executive of the United States Olympic Committee.
The IBAF has been in the news recently since they are the main organizer of all of the world’s baseball events including the World Baseball Classic. Other events that the IBAF has put on include the Baseball World Cup, the Olympic Games baseball tournament and the Women’s Baseball World Cup. The last one may surprise many readers, but according to IBAF statistics more than 300,000 women world wide play baseball, not softball.
Founded in 1938, the IBAF has more than 120 members in its federation which come form five different continents. Over the past 20 years, the number of federation members has more than doubled.
According to IBAF’s research, the game of baseball is played in five continents and in over 200 countries. There are a total of 17 professional leagues that will be operational in 2009, the largest of which are in North America and Japan. During the 2007 season, an astounding 28 percent of Major League players came from outside of the United States. An estimated 30 countries were represented. The IBAF has working relationships with every one of the 17 professional leagues.
The IBAF estimates that the sport of baseball is played by over 30 million people across the world. This ranks it third among sports, behind soccer and basketball.
If one is to include all of the Little League and Teeball players that the IBAF has a working relationship with, they oversee over 5 million players annually.
As stated before, the IBAF’s current mission is to get baseball back into the Olympics. With all of the attention that that topic is getting with the World Baseball Classic now in full swing, the success of this year’s Classic could help, or hurt, the IBAF’s case.
Bill Jordan is a contributor to BaseballReflections.com. He can be reached by e-mail at BillJordaniv@yahoo.com.