Baseball is considered one of the world's "major sports" and is a national sport across North, Central and South America and the Caribbean, as well as East Asia. In Latin America, baseball is often referred to as "el rey de los deportes" (The King of Sports).  Baseball attracts approximately 150 million fans of all ages to ballparks worldwide and features the top two professional leagues in all of sport in terms of annual attendance. Baseball/softball is also considered one of the biggest gender-balanced youth sports, with the majority of its estimated 65 million athletes between the ages of five and 21 years of age.

The Premier12 is the flagship international baseball tournament organised by the WBSC, featuring the 12 best-ranked national baseball teams in the world. The first Premier12 global championship was held in Taiwan and Japan in November 2015, and generated over $131 million in brand exposure and a record two billion plus social media impressions. The second edition was held in Japan, Mexico, Taiwan and South Korea in 2019 and served as a qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Professional baseball leagues are organised in many countries throughout the world:

The Americas

The Caribbean

The historic Serie Nacional del Béisbol Cubana is the top sports league in Cuba and one of the most historic/prestigious in the Americas. The iconic league features 16 clubs, which have produced numerous legendary international stars. Las Tunas are the current champions after winning the 2023 title.

The Dominican Professional Baseball League (LIDOM) is the highest-level of professional baseball in the Dominican Republic, consisting of six teams. Tigres del Licey are the most recent LIDOM champions, winning the 2022-2023 title.

One of the earliest founded pro baseball leagues, the Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League of Puerto Rico was launched in 1938 and is the top-tier sports league in the Caribbean territory. It consists of five teams, with Indios de Mayagüez winning the 2022-2023 title.

Baseball is a popular sport in the Caribbean ©Getty Images
Baseball is a popular sport in the Caribbean ©Getty Images

Central America

The Mexican Baseball League was founded in 1925 with six teams. There are now 18 teams split into the north and south divisions. Pericos de Puebla are the most recent champions, winning in 2023.

The Nicaraguan National Professional Baseball League was originally founded in 1956 and currently features five teams. Indios del Bóer are the most recent champions after claiming the title in 2022-2023.

Re-launched in 2011, the three-team Panamanian Professional Baseball League is the top-tier national baseball league in Panama. Federales de Chiriquí were crowned as the 2022-2023 champions.

The Mexican Pacific League is an independent winter league with the 10 team regular season running from October to December, and a play-off series taking place in January to determine the champion. Cañeros de Los Mochis won the title in 2022-2023.

South America

Venezuela features one of the most competitive leagues in the Americas. Leones del Caracas  were crowned the 2022-2023 champions from the eight-team Liga Venezolana de Béisbol Profesional. 

The Colombian Professional Baseball League is a winter competition held over three months. There are six teams and the 2022-2023 champions were Vaqueros de Monteria. 

United States and Canada

Major League Baseball (MLB), the first-ever established professional sports league in the world in 1876, is the world's premier baseball league. There are currently 30 teams playing in MLB, across the American League and National League. Houston Astros won the 2022 World Series.

In addition to the major leagues, many North American cities and towns feature minor league teams. The minor leagues are divided into classes AAA, AA, High A, Low A, Short-Season A, Advanced Rookie, and Rookie.

In softball, the inaugural season of the Women's Professional Fastpitch took place in the US from June to August in 2022.

USA Softball and the United States Specialty Sports Association - a WBSC member and associated member respectively - are organising the league.

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Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) is the premier and most historic sports league in Japan, helping to maintain baseball's position atop the sports pyramid in the country.

The most recent winners are the Orix Buffaloes, who won the 2022 title. NPB features 12 teams.

The Japanese Softball League features 12 teams in its top division. In 2022, Bic Camera Takasaki Queen Bee won their fourth consecutive title by defeating Toyota Red Terriers in the championship game.

The championship tournament was played at Fukushima Azuma Stadium, one of the venues of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic baseball and softball events.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) is the most popular sports league in the Republic of Korea, particularly following the nation's gold medal in baseball at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. 

SSG Landers won the KBO crown in 2022, with 10 teams currently competing.

The five-team Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) is the most prestigious and popular sports league in Taiwan. 

The CTBC Brothers are the reigning champions having won in 2022. In 2020, the CPBL was the first baseball league in the world to start its season thanks to the country's containment of COVID-19.

Founded relatively recently in 2002, China's professional baseball league, the Chinese Baseball League, features 10 clubs. 

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The Italian Baseball League features six teams, and was won in 2023 by Fortitudo Baseball Bologna.

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Established in 2010, the eight-team Australian Baseball League is the only top-tier professional baseball league in Oceania and is overseen by the Australian Baseball Federation. Its most recent champion is 2022-2023 winners Adelaide Giants.