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World Baseball Classic Setting Records For Viewership, Attendance

  • Team USA vs. Great Britain most-watched game in the U.S. since 2009.
  • Overall opening round attendance is up 98% to over 1 million fans.
Baseball World Baseball Classic Opening Day
Syndication: Arizona Republic

New York Mets fans are not enamored of the World Baseball Classic after closer Edwin Diaz suffered a knee injury that will cost him the 2023 season. But the global tournament generates substantial bottom-line numbers for Major League Baseball. 

Baseball is one of the most successful global sports. 

The WBC’s First Round set records for TV viewership and attendance. The numbers from baseball-crazed countries like Japan and South Korea indicate the Grand Old Fame has room for global expansion.

This year marks the fifth iteration of the WBC since its launch in 2006. Consider some of the numbers generated by the WBC’s first round of action in four locations around the world:

  • USA: Team USA’s first game versus Great Britain on FOX/FOX Deportes averaged 1.592 million viewers. That made it the most-watched first-round game in America since 2009.  
  • Japan: Japan vs. South Korea on March 10th pulled a 44.4 TV rating, out-rating all sports competitions during the Tokyo Olympics. The island nation’s first four games averaged a whopping 42.3 ratings.
  • South Korea: The four games, including South Korea, averaged 1.781 million viewers, up 35% from 2017. South Korea vs. Japan averaged 2.709 million viewers – making it the most-watched WBC game in Korea since their championship game against Japan in 2009. 
  • Taiwan: Chinese Taipei’s four First Round games averaged 1.301 million viewers in Taiwan. That was up 151% from 2017.
  • Caribbean: The numbers for games involving Caribbean nations aren’t complete yet. But MLB said viewership for first-round games in Puerto Rico was up 77%. Puerto Rico’s game against the Dominican Republic averaged a massive 62% share of people watching TV then.

The first round also sets new overall and average attendance records. 

This year’s games drew 1,010,999 fans. That’s up 98% vs. the previous record of 510,056 in 2017. The average game attendance of 25,275 was up 24% from 2017.  

For example, the Pool B games at the Tokyo Dome in Japan set new tournament records for overall attendance (361,976) and average attendance (36,198).

Javy Baez, Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Vinny Pasquantino

The International Baseball Stage Has Never Been Bigger

The top two teams in the 2023 World Baseball Classic are separated…
March 10, 2023

Meanwhile, the Pool D games in Miami posted a new US record for attendance, drawing 295,850 fans. That was up +81% vs. 2017. Mexico’s win over Team USA on March 12th drew 47,534 fans, a new WBC record for any opening-round game.

As with the upcoming MLB season, two-way Japanese star Shohei Ohtani is looming large.

He gained the most new social media followers of any player, with a 1.36 million increase since March 1st.

“My friends, the World Baseball Classic is officially one of the world’s biggest tournaments,” tweeted Fox MLB analyst Ben Verlander.

The action will resume Saturday night, with Team USA playing Venezuela at 7 p.m. ET.

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