Japan is the two-time defending champion of the World Baseball Classic, but the nation's participation in the third edition of the tournament, set for 2013, is currently in doubt.
At dispute is the way revenues have been split from the MLB-run event, with Nippon Professional Baseball and its players' association claiming they haven't been given a fair slice of the pie.
As the clock keeps ticking and negotiations remain at a standstill, The Asahi Shimbun recently interviewed Paul Archey, the senior vice president of international business operations for Major League Baseball. Here are some excerpts from the interview.
The Asahi Shimbun: It seems like MLB and the Japanese players' association are still far from reaching an agreement. What are the problems?
Paul Archey: Well, I don't know if we're far away. It's mainly just discussing the structure, the financial structure of the WBCI (World Baseball Classic Inc.), answering some questions they had, expanding on some information. They're on the steering committee, both the NPB and the (Japanese) players. They had some thoughts on a proposal, if you will, that they wanted us to consider, and which we did consider, and we're just having some dialogue on that.
AS: The Japanese side said they are demanding more revenue sharing, that from the last tournament they only got 13 percent of the revenue. Is that the major sticking point between you and NPB?
PA: Well, that's part of it, that's part of the discussion. But the 13 percent you mentioned is kind of a misleading number. The 13 percent doesn't account for all the expenses that Major League Baseball puts into the tournament and doesn't charge the tournament for. So if you include all those expenses and then take a look at the economics, the sharing arrangement is more like 44-21 percent. So that's a misleading number on the tournament itself, on the finances. It's an accurate number, but misleading because there are many expenses that Major League Baseball takes on, that we don't charge to the tournament.