Spring training games have just begun, but many Major League Baseball players will soon be taking a two-week break from practices and practice games in Arizona and Florida to play for their country in the World Baseball Classic.
With a 30-man MLB roster, Team USA enters the tournament as the defending champions. The Dominican Republic (winner in 2013) and Japan (two-time champions, in 2009 and 2006) loom as the biggest obstacles to an American repeat.
The tournament runs from March 7 to 21. The games will air on Fox, FS1, FS2 and Fox Deportes. In addition, three early-round games will be shown live on Fox-owned streaming app Tubi. Here’s everything you need to know to watch the WBC, with or without cable.
What is the schedule and format of the WBC?
Twenty teams will play in this year’s tournament, up from 16 in previous years. There are four different groups of five teams each. The top two teams in each group will advance to the quarterfinals, making it an eight-team, single-elimination tournament.
- Quarterfinals: March 15 to 18
- Semi-finals: March 19 and 20
Where are the WBC matches played?
The tournament will be held in four locations, two in the US and two in Asia:
- LoanDepot Park (home of the Miami Marlins) in Miami
- Chase Field (home of the Arizona Diamondbacks) in Phoenix
- Tokyo Dome in Tokyo
- Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taichung, Taiwan
Which countries play in the World Baseball Classic?
Here’s how the 20 teams are placed in the four groups:
- Chinese Taipei
Pool A will play their matches in Taiwan.
- South Korea
- The Czech Republic
Pool B will play its matches in Japan.
Swimming pool C
- United States
- Great Britain
Pool C will play its games in Phoenix.
Swimming pool D
- Dominican Republic
- Puerto Rico
Pool D will play its matches in Miami.
The quarter-finals of groups A and B will be played in Japan. The quarter-finals of Pool C and D will be played in Miami. The semifinals and the championship will be held in Miami.
Who are the biggest MLB stars playing in the WBC?
USA: Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Trea Turner, Pete Alonso, Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado
Dominican Republic: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Manny Machado, Rafael Devers, Juan Soto, Wander Franco, Julio Rodríguez, Sandy Alcantara
Japan: Shohei Ohtani, Yu Darvish
Venezuela: Ronald Acuña Jr., Jose Altuve
Netherlands: Xander Bogaerts
Puerto Rico: Francisco Lindor
Canada: Freddie Freeman
You can see the full roster for each WBC team here.
Here’s Team USA’s four-game schedule in Pool C:
- Game 1 vs Great Britain: March 11 at 6pm PT (9 p.m. ET) on Fox
- Game 2 vs. Mexico: March 12 at 7 p.m. PT (10 p.m. ET) on FS1
- Game 3 vs. Canada: March 13 at 7 p.m. PT (10 p.m. ET) on FS1
- Game 4 vs. Colombia: March 15 at 7 p.m. PT (10 p.m. ET) on FS1
The tournament begins at 11 p.m. ET (8 p.m. PT) on March 7 with the first game between Cuba and the Netherlands. You can see the full WBC schedule here.
How can I watch the World Baseball Classic?
You can watch the WBC on Fox, FS1, FS2 and Fox Deportes with a live TV streaming service, but keep in mind that not every service carries every local network, so check each one using the links below to make sure they carry Fox on area. The primary channel for the WBC is FS1, which will not only show three of Team USA’s first four games, but also the semifinals and title game.
The games can also be streamed live online via FoxSports.com or the Fox Sports app, but you’ll need to authenticate with a cable, streaming or satellite connection. You don’t need an account to watch the three games on the free ad-supported streaming service Tubi.
Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
You can watch WBC games live on FoxSports.com or the Fox Sports app, but you must authenticate via cable, streaming or satellite connection. Fox Sports has apps for iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Google TV and Xbox.
Sling’s $40-a-month Blue package includes Fox and FS1, but only carries Fox in a few areas. It does not offer Fox Deportes. You can add FS2 for an additional $11 per month. Read our Sling TV review.
YouTube TV costs $65 per month and includes Fox, FS1 and FS2 but not Fox Deportes. Plug in your postcode on the welcome page to see what local networks are available in your area. Read our YouTube TV review.
FuboTV’s basic plan costs $75 a month and includes Fox, FS1 and FS2. To watch Spanish-language shows on Fox Deportes, you’ll need to look for FuboTV’s $86-a-month plan. Click here to see which local channels you receive. Read our review on FuboTV.
DirecTV Stream’s basic $75-a-month package includes Fox and FS1. You have to spend $110 to get FS2 as well. Fox Deportes is not offered. You can use the channel search tool to see what local channels are available where you live. Read our DirecTV streaming review.
Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Tubi is a free ad-supported streaming service that shows movies and TV shows along with live streams of local news, live sports, weather and entertainment channels. Three WBC first round matches will be shown live on Tubi: Italy vs. Cuba on March 9, Czech Republic vs. China on March 9, and Italy vs. Chinese Taipei on March 10.
How to use a VPN to watch the WBC from anywhere
If you’re traveling outside your country and want to watch the WBC, or just want an extra layer of privacy to stream, there’s an option that doesn’t require searching the internet for a sketchy site: You can use a VPN, or virtual private network.
With a VPN, you can virtually change your location on your phone, tablet or laptop to access WBC broadcasts, which is useful if you can’t watch the games locally. A VPN is the best way to stop your ISP from throttling your speeds by encrypting your traffic. Using a VPN is also a great idea if you’re traveling and connected to a Wi-Fi network and want to add an extra layer of privacy for your devices and connections.
If you can’t find a convenient opportunity to watch the WBC where you live, using a VPN with a US-based server should provide access to some or all of the streaming options listed below. Most VPNs, like our Editors’ Choice ExpressVPN, make it very easy to do this.
Using a VPN to watch or stream sports is legal in any country where VPNs are legal, as long as you have a legal subscription to the service you’re streaming. You should make sure your VPN is set up properly to avoid leaks: Even when VPNs are legitimate, the streaming service can terminate the account of anyone it deems to be circumventing properly enforced obfuscation restrictions. Check out our list of the best VPNs for more and check out other great VPN deals going on right now.
ExpressVPN is the current best VPN choice for people who want a reliable and secure VPN, and it works on a variety of devices. It’s usually $13 a month, and you can sign up for ExpressVPN and save 49% plus get three months of free access — the equivalent of $6.67 per month — if you get an annual subscription. Note that ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Quick tips for streaming WBC using a VPN
- With four variables at play — ISP, browser, video streaming provider, and VPN — experience and success may vary.
- If you don’t see your desired location as a default option for ExpressVPN, try using the “search city or country” option.
- If you’re having trouble downloading the game after you’ve enabled your VPN and set it to the correct viewing area, there are two things you can try for a quick fix. First, sign in to your streaming service subscription account and make sure the address registered for the account is an address in the correct viewing area. If not, you may need to change the physical address on file with your account. Second, some smart TVs — like Roku — don’t have VPN apps that you can install directly on the device itself. Instead, you’ll need to install the VPN on your router or the mobile hotspot you’re using (like your phone) so that any device on its Wi-Fi network will now show up in the correct viewing position.
- All of the VPN providers we recommend have helpful instructions on their main website for quickly installing the VPN on your router. In some cases with smart TV services, after you install a cable network’s sports app, you’ll be asked to verify a numeric code or click a link sent to your email address on file for your smart TV. Having a VPN on your router will also help here, as both devices will appear to be in the correct location.
- And remember, browsers can often give away a location despite using a VPN, so make sure you’re using a privacy-protecting browser to connect to your services. We usually recommend Brave.