The 2017 World Baseball Classic has reached its conclusion, and the returns say the tournament was one for the history books.The fourth installment of the Classic set new event records for attendance, television ratings, digital consumption and merchandise sales, Major League Baseball announced Thursday. The tournament concluded Wednesday night with
The 2017 World Baseball Classic has reached its conclusion, and the returns say the tournament was one for the history books.
The fourth installment of the Classic set new event records for attendance, television ratings, digital consumption and merchandise sales, Major League Baseball announced Thursday. The tournament concluded Wednesday night with the United States defeating Puerto Rico, 8-0, in the championship final in front of 3.1 million American television viewers across MLB Network, ESPN Deportes and a Spanish-language simulcast on ESPN2 -- a new record for any single Classic game.
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Overall, the tournament set several telecast records. MLB announced that domestic viewership in the U.S. increased by 32 percent over the most recent installment in 2013. Roughly 2.3 million Americans tuned in to MLB Network to watch Wednesday's final, making it the second-most-watched telecast in the network's history behind Game 2 of the '16 National League Division Series between the Cubs and Giants.
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An additional 761,000 watched either ESPN Deportes or the Spanish-language simulcast on ESPN2 for the final on Wednesday, making it the biggest U.S. audience for a Spanish-language telecast of a baseball game in history. And Americans certainly weren't the only ones tuning in; a staggering 70 percent of all televisions in Puerto Rico were set to the championship game. Furthermore, Japan's first three opening-round games ranked as the highest-rated television programs in the home country that week, and viewership in the Dominican Republic for the national team's games increased 10 percent over the 2013 tournament that the Dominicans won.
Television was far from the only record-setting area for WBC '17. A total of 1,086,720 fans attended Classic games at ballparks around the globe, a 23 percent increase from 2013 as the event passed one million in attendance for the first time. That included a crowd of 51,565 for the final at Dodger Stadium, the second-most-attended matchup in tournament history. Japanese baseball fans packed the stands the most, setting new pool attendance records with 209,072 for the second round and 206,534 attending first-round play, both at the Tokyo Dome.
On the digital side, MLB.TV subscribers consumed a record 70 million minutes of Classic coverage and web traffic to WorldBaseballClassic.com rose 41 percent as compared to the 2013 tournament. Classic merchandise sales also rose by 50 percent on MLBShop.com over the previous tournament.
Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.