Tokyo, San Juan, Houston and Miami announced as World Baseball Classic 2026 hosts

May 23rd, 2024

Mark your calendars and clear your schedules: The World Baseball Classic will be returning in March 2026. On Thursday, it was announced where the action will take place when Samurai Japan tries to defend its World Baseball Classic crown against the rest of the world.

The Tokyo Dome in Japan and loanDepot park in Miami will return from the 2023 tournament as host sites, with Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico, returning for the first time since 2013. Houston’s Minute Maid Park will host for the first time in history.

“We are excited and honored to be hosting World Baseball Classic matchups for the first time,” Astros owner and chairman Jim Crane said. “Houston is a global city with the best baseball fans, and we are proud to welcome fans from across the globe to watch international competition at Minute Maid Park."

The first-round pools will be split across the four locations, while the semifinals will be split between Houston and Miami, with the final once again taking place at loanDepot park.

Sixteen teams have qualified for the tournament -- the top four teams from each of the pools from the 2023 tournament -- while the final four teams will be determined at the 2025 Qualifiers. More information on the Qualifiers will be coming soon.

Here’s more information on the host locations:

Houston, Texas
Stadium: Minute Maid Park
Usual tenants: Houston Astros
Stadium capacity: 41,000
Times hosted: 0
Last hosted: N/A

Though Minute Maid Park will be making its World Baseball Classic debut, the stadium is certainly no stranger to hosting major baseball events: The Astros have played in the ALCS every year since 2017. (The 2020 ALCS was held at San Diego’s Petco Park due to the pandemic.)

The city of Houston is in for plenty of international competition in 2026, too: After the World Baseball Classic is over, nearby NRG Stadium will be a host site for that summer’s FIFA World Cup.

Miami, Florida
Stadium: loanDepot park
Usual tenants: Miami Marlins
Stadium capacity: 37,442
Times hosted: 4
Last hosted: 2023

The last moment of the 2023 World Baseball Classic took place in Miami -- and it just happened to be one of the greatest moments in baseball history, too: Which baseball fan doesn’t remember where they were when Shohei Ohtani struck out then-teammate Mike Trout with a one-run lead to give Japan its first championship since 2009?

A host site every year since 2009, Miami has seen plenty of tremendous moments, including Japan’s remarkable comeback against Mexico in the 2023 semifinals, Nelson Cruz’s go-ahead three-run home run to help the Dominican Republic defeat the United States, 7-5, in 2017, and David Wright’s bases-loaded, walk-off single to defeat Puerto Rico in the second round of the 2009 tournament.

San Juan, Puerto Rico
Stadium: Hiram Bithorn Stadium
Usual tenants: Cangrejeros de Santurce
Stadium capacity: 18,000
Times hosted: 3
Last hosted: 2013

After back-to-back runner-up finishes in the 2013 and ‘17 tournaments, Puerto Rico will be hoping to finally win it all in 2026. Perhaps Hiram Bithorn Stadium returning as a host for the pool round for the first time since 2013 will help change that.

"The return of the World Baseball Classic to Puerto Rico reaffirms our city’s capacity to host major international events and our commitment to bring the best baseball in the world to our shores," Hon. Miguel Romero, Mayor of San Juan, said. "We are fully prepared to deliver a top-tier experience, showcasing not only our enduring love for baseball, but also the resilient, forward-looking spirit of San Juan and Puerto Rico.”

Once a part-time home to the Montreal Expos, Hiram Bithorn Stadium has been the site of plenty of great WBC moments, including Puerto Rico’s 12-2 mercy-rule victory against Cuba in 2006, Shairon Martis’ no-hitter against Panama -- the only no-hitter in WBC history -- and the Dominican Republic beginning its undefeated 2013 Classic performance in the Puerto Rico pool.

Tokyo, Japan
Stadium: Tokyo Dome
Usual tenants: Yomiuri Giants
Stadium capacity: 46,000
Times hosted: 5
Last hosted: 2023

The only location to be a host at every World Baseball Classic, Tokyo’s fans certainly proved to be some of the greatest baseball supporters in the world at the 2023 tournament. During Samurai Japan’s run to its third WBC title, Tokyo Dome broke records for the most fans of any round in the history of the tournament with 361,976, while also setting the highest average attendance (36,198) of any first or second round pool in tournament history.

Not only has Japan emerged as the eventual victor three times -- as well as being the only nation to repeat as champions (2006, ‘09) -- the first ever World Baseball Classic games were played at Tokyo Dome, too. South Korea defeated Chinese Taipei, 2-0, and Japan defeated China, 18-2, way back on March 3, 2006.