Taipei, Jan. 21 (CNA) Tickets for the opening game of the 2013 World Baseball Classic (WBC) were almost sold out Sunday, with other games featuring Taiwan also popular, the tournament promoter said Monday.
More than 18,000 of the 20,000 tickets available for the Group B opening game between Taiwan and Australia in the preliminary round scheduled for March 2 in Taichung, central Taiwan, were sold within five hours of going on sale Jan. 17.
As of Sunday, Taiwan's second game against the Netherlands set for March 3 had fewer than 4,000 tickets left, while its March 5 final Group B game against South Korea had only about 1,000 tickets remaining, according to Bros Sports, promoter of the Taiwan section of the tournament.
In addition to local baseball fans, Bros Sports said that over 3,000 South Koreans are expected to come to Taiwan to cheer for their team.
Taiwanese baseball players who have played in the major or minor leagues in the United States are likely to join the lineup of Taiwan's national baseball team, including Chien-ming Wang, Kuo Hong-chih and Lin Che-hsuan, with head coach Hsieh Chang-heng saying that Wang might start in the opening game.
The Group B competition in the preliminary round of the 3rd World Baseball Classic will take place March 2-5 at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium.
The WBC's preliminary Group A, C and D competitions are scheduled to take place in Japan, Puerto Rico and the U.S., respectively.
Taiwan, Australia, the Netherlands and South Korea are vying for the top two Group B spots to advance to the quarterfinals, which will take place in Tokyo March 8-12.
The finals will take place in San Francisco March 17-19 at AT&T Park -- home to the San Francisco Giants.
(By Lin Hung-han and Nell Shen)