Spring training games have begun, but many Major League baseball players have entered a two-week break from practices and practice games in Arizona and Florida to play for their countries in the World Baseball Classic.
With a roster of 30 MLB players, Team USA enters the tournament as the defending champion. The Dominican Republic (winner in 2013) and Japan (two-time champ, in 2009 and 2006) loom as the biggest obstacles to an American repeat. Team USA kicks off its title defense against Great Britain at 9 p.m. ET (6 p.m. PT) on Fox.
The tournament started on March 7 and runs to March 21. Games are being shown on Fox, FS1, FS2 and Fox Deportes. 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 teams in past years. There are four different pools of five teams each. The top two teams in each pool will advance to the quarterfinals, at which point it becomes an eight-team, single-elimination tournament.
- Quarterfinals: March 15 to 18
- Semifinals: March 19 and 20
Where are the WBC games being 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 are playing in the World Baseball Classic?
Here’s how the 20 teams are arranged in the four pools:
- Chinese Taipei
Pool A will play its games in Taiwan.
- South Korea
- Czech Republic
Pool B will play its games in Japan.
- United States
- Great Britain
Pool C will play its games in Phoenix.
- Dominican Republic
- Puerto Rico
Pool D will play its games in Miami.
Pool A and B quarterfinals will be played in Japan. Pool C and D quarterfinals will be played in Miami. The semifinals and championship game will be played 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 the schedule for the US team’s four games in Pool C:
- Game 1 vs. Great Britain: March 11 at 6 p.m. 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 starts 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 it carries Fox in your area. The key channel for the WBC is FS1, which will not only show three of Team USA’s first four games but will also show both semifinal games and the title game.
Games can also be streamed live online through FoxSports.com or the Fox Sports app, but you’ll need to authenticate with a cable, streaming or satellite login. You don’t need an account to watch the three games on the free, ad-supported Tubi streaming service.
You can watch WBC games live at FoxSports.com or the Fox Sports app, but you need to authenticate with a cable, streaming or satellite login. 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 it carries Fox only in a handful of areas. It does not offer Fox Deportes. You can add FS2 for an extra $11 a month. Read our Sling TV review.
YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes Fox, FS1 and FS2 but not Fox Deportes. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which 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 broadcasts on Fox Deportes, you will need to spring for FuboTV’s $86-a-month plan. Click here to see which local channels you get. Read our FuboTV review.
DirecTV Stream’s basic, $75-a-month package includes Fox and FS1. You need to spend $110 to also get FS2. Fox Deportes is not offered. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available where you live. Read our DirecTV Stream review.
How to use a VPN to watch the WBC from anywhere
If you’re traveling outside your home country and want to watch the WBC, or just want an added layer of privacy for streaming, there is an option that doesn’t require searching the internet for a sketchy website: You can use a VPN, or virtual private network.
With a VPN, you’re able to virtually change your location on your phone, tablet or laptop to get access to WBC broadcasts, which comes in handy if you find yourself unable to view 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 find yourself connected to a Wi-Fi network, and you want to add an extra layer of privacy for your devices and logins.
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 really 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’ve got a legitimate subscription to the service you’re streaming. You should be sure your VPN is set up correctly to prevent leaks: Even where VPNs are legal, the streaming service may terminate the account of anyone it deems to be circumventing correctly applied blackout restrictions. See our list of best VPNs for more and check out other great VPN deals taking place right now.
ExpressVPN is our current best VPN pick for people who want a reliable and safe VPN, and it works on a variety of devices. It’s normally $13 per month, and you can sign up for ExpressVPN and save 49% plus get three months of access for free — 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 the WBC using a VPN
- With four variables at play — your 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 for city or country” option.
- If you’re having trouble getting the game after you’ve turned on your VPN and set it to the correct viewing area, there are two things you can try for a quick fix. First, log into 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 you can install directly on the device itself. Instead, you’ll have 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 now appears in the correct viewing location.
- All of the VPN providers we recommend have helpful instructions on their main site 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. This is where having a VPN on your router will also help, since both devices will appear to be in the correct location.
- And remember, browsers can often give away a location despite using a VPN, so be sure you’re using a privacy-first browser to log into your services. We normally recommend Brave.