The Under-18 Men’s Softball World Cup will begin in New Zealand on February 22 ©WBSC

World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has awarded Sky TV exclusive broadcast rights in New Zealand for the Under-18 Men’s Softball World Cup.

The announcement comes prior to the start of the competition on February 22 at Palmerston North in New Zealand.

Under the terms of the agreement, SKY TV will show 33 games from the tournament to its subscribers.

This will include both the final and bronze-medal match, which will take place on March 1.

The two matches will also be shown on Sky Sport 8, with coverage hosted by Stephen McIvor and New Zealand Softball Hall of Fame inductee Jackie Smith.

Dale Husband and former Black Sox captain Rhys Casley will commentate on New Zealand’s games.

"WBSC is delighted to partner with Sky TV to broadcast the Under-18 Men's Softball World Cup in New Zealand,” said Tommy Velazquez, WBSC softball chairman.

“Their experience and knowledge guarantees for us a world-class production and a top-level product.

"In addition, with all the games available on our digital channels for the rest of the world, we expect record-breaking audiences for this youth Men’s Softball World Cup."

The top 12 nations will compete at the World Cup in New Zealand ©WBSC
The top 12 nations will compete at the World Cup in New Zealand ©WBSC

The top 12 national teams will compete at the event, with teams split into two groups.

Argentina, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Singapore and the Czech Republic will contest Group A.

World number one Japan will join third seeds and hosts New Zealand in Group B, along with the United States, Mexico, Denmark and Guatemala.

The top three teams from each group will advance to the super round, carrying the results of games played between each other.

The best two teams in the super round will contest a final.

The tournament will feature 50 matches in total.

All matches will be live streamed globally free of charge on both the WBSC YouTube channel and the governing body’s over-the-top platform Game Time.