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What were the 2023 World Baseball Classic TV ratings? Record attendance and viewership

The 2023 World Baseball Classic was the fifth edition of the international tournament, and it was by far the most watched edition in tournament history.

The 2023 World Baseball Classic was the fifth edition of the international tournament, and it was by far the most watched edition in tournament history.
Rhona WiseUSA TODAY Sports

Though you could have probably guessed it for yourself, viewership for the 2023 World Baseball Classic was at an all-time high, as fans the world over enjoyed the best edition of the tournament so far. From mercy-rule victories, to Japan’s dominance and eventual championship win against Team USA, it was a tournament to be remembered. With that, let’s get into the facts and figures.

What were global numbers like for the 2023 WBC?

To be frank, the 2023 World Baseball Classic was the most successful in tournament history as the event set global engagement and attendance marks that we haven’t seen before. Indeed, some 1,010,999 fans took in the first round of pool play, which if you’re wondering, was well ahead of the attendance numbers for the four previous editions in 2006, 2009, 2013 and 2017. According to analysis, the previous record was 510,056 which we witnessed in 2017, meaning the increase was a more than impressive 98%.

As for attendance, the average number of fans at the games stood at 25,275 - also a record - which was up from 2017′s average attendance of 20,402, meaning a 24% increase. In terms of the details, it was Pool B which broke the records for most fans of any round in tournament history with 361,976. Hosted at the Tokyo Dome in Japan, fan interest was at peak levels. By the same token, Pool D which played at LoanDepot Park in Miami set the record for the highest attendance at a World Baseball Classic round - an increase of 81%. The stadium also saw the highest average attendance (36,198) for any first or second round pool in the tournament’s history. Overall average attendance of games in Miami was 29,585, which was an increase of 8% from the 2017 average of 27,313.

What about individual game numbers at the 2023 WBC?

Mexico’s clash with Team USA on March 12th at Chase Field was already hugely popular before a pitch was even thrown. So, it should come as no surprise that it set the World Baseball Classic attendance record for any first-round game with 44,256 fans on hand to see the Mexicans defeat the highly favored Americans. To add further weight to the tournament’s allure state side, was the fact that on March 11th, both American venues set single-day attendance records with LoanDepot seeing 71,289 and Chase Field a total of 68,147.

The WBC’s television numbers were up across the board

Like the above-mentioned Mexico vs USA clash, the showdown between Japan and Korea on March 10th was hugely popular. With a 44.4 rating, it was the most-watched game in the history of the World Baseball Classic in any country. To put that in perspective, the game surpassed even the Tokyo Olympics. In Taiwan, the situation was the same with Chinese Taipei’s four first-round games averaging 1.301 million viewers on EBC News, a 151% increase when compared to the 2017 tournament. To be clear, the average viewership of all four Chinese Taipei games was higher than all other sports programming in the market since September 2021.

Then there was Korea, whose four games which featured on SBS/KBS/MBC saw an average of 1.781 million viewers, marking a 35% increase from the 2017 first-round average. South Korea’s match-up with Japan with an average of 2.709 million viewers, was the most-watched World Baseball Classic game in Korea since their championship game against Japan in 2009. Additionally, there was also Puerto Rico which saw a 77% increase in viewership when compared to the 2017 tournament. Interestingly, Puerto Rico’s game against the Dominican Republic had an average of 62% of the country’s television watching audience at the time of the game, with 24% of viewers under the age of 35 and 55% of them being female viewers. Where the DR was concerned, there was a 37% increase in viewership, while Mexico saw a 10% increase from 2017. Where the U.S.A. was concerned, the Americans’ opening game against Great Britain was actually the most watched first round game in the country since 2009 with an average of 1.592 million viewers.

The WBC also had an effect on social media and merchandising

One of the interesting knock-on effects was that which we saw on social media. Indeed, the tournament’s social media accounts saw engagement during the first-round increase by an unbelievable 564% when compared with the first-round of 2017′s tournament. As for individuals, it was Japan’s two-way sensation, Shohei Ohtani, who garnered the most followers of any player during the first round with an increase of 1.36 million since March - approximately 75%.

Lastly, the merchandizing sector also saw a significant bump. With fans turning out to back their teams in record numbers, you can be assured that they were all wearing the appropriate colors, caps and jerseys as well. Overall, the 2023 World Baseball Classic not only broke attendance and viewership records, but sales records as well. Whether it was through e-commerce or direct sales at host venues, it was evident that folks wanted their allegiances to be clear.


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