2023 World Baseball Classic first round sets records in attendance, viewership, and merchandise sales
First Round Surpasses One Million Fans in Attendance; Records Set in Total and Average Attendance for the First Round; Japan Registers Most-Watched Game in Tournament History; Merchandise Sales Break All-Time Tournament Record
The 2023 World Baseball Classic has driven significant fan interest and broken numerous tournament consumption records after a First Round that took place in four locations. The fifth installment of the tournament has attracted an increasing amount of global engagement from fans around the world.
The 2023 World Baseball Classic registered an attendance record for the First-Round drawing 1,010,999, the most attended round in the history of the tournament and a +98% increase vs. the previous record of 510,056 in 2017. The average attendance of 25,275 also set a record for the First Round of the tournament eclipsing 2017’s average of 20,402 by +24%.
Pool B, held at the Tokyo Dome in Japan, broke records for the most fans of any round in the history of the tournament (361,976) and the highest average attendance (36,198) of any First or Second Round pool in the tournament’s history.
Pool D in Miami at loanDepot park set the record for the most attended World Baseball Classic round ever in the United States drawing 295,850, an increase of +81%. Average attendance in Miami registered 29,585, which was an increase of +8% vs. the 2017 average of 27,313.
Mexico’s victory over Team USA on March 12th at Chase Field drew 47,534, which is a World Baseball Classic attendance record for any First Round game.
Both U.S. venues set single day attendance records in the buildings’ histories during the First Round on Saturday, March 11. loanDepot park drew 71,289 and Chase Field had total attendance of 68,147 both over the course of two games.
In Japan, the March 10th Japan vs. Korea game on TBS registered a 44.4 rating, making it the most-watched game in the history of the World Baseball Classic in any country. The game outrated all sports competition during the Tokyo Olympics. Japan’s four First Round games averaged a 42.3 rating in the country.
In Taiwan, Chinese Taipei’s four First Round games averaged 1.301 million viewers on EBC News, an increase of +151% vs. the 2017 tournament. The average viewership of all four Chinese Taipei games were higher than all other sports programming in the market since September 2021.
In Korea, the four games featuring South Korea on SBS/KBS/MBC averaged 1.781 million viewers marking a +35% increase vs. the 2017 First Round average. South Korea’s match-up against Japan, which averaged 2.709 million viewers, was the most-watched World Baseball Classic game in Korea since their championship game competition against Japan in 2009.
In Puerto Rico, WAPA Deportes delivered a +77% increase in comparison to 2017 for all games featuring Puerto Rico in the First Round. Puerto Rico’s game against Dominican Republic averaged a 62% share of people watching TV at the time. Twenty-four percent of viewers who watched that game were under 35 years and 55% were female viewers.
In the Dominican Republic, viewership for the Dominican team’s games were +37% vs. 2017. In Mexico, the first two games on Imagen featuring Mexico registered an increase of +10% vs. 2017. Ratings for all four games in Mexico were not yet available.
Team USA’s first game versus Great Britain on FOX and FOX Deportes averaged 1.592 million viewers making it the most-watched first round game in the U.S. since 2009.
After the First Round, the 2023 World Baseball Classic has already broken the tournament’s all-time sales records for merchandise across both e-commerce and the four host venues – Chase Field in Phoenix, AZ; loanDepot Park in Miami, FL; the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan; and Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taiwan. The official online stores for World Baseball Classic merchandise are MLBShop.com and the Fanatics network of websites.
Japanese star Shohei Ohtani gained the most followers of any player during the First Round with a 1.36 million increase since March 1st, which is approximate growth of +75%. In addition, there was +564% more total engagements on World Baseball Classic social media accounts during the First Round of the 2023 tournament compared to the 2017 event.
The North American quarterfinals start tonight with Puerto Rico facing Mexico at 7 p.m. on FS1. Tomorrow night, USA will face Venezuela on FOX also at 7 p.m.
MLB Network’s Emmy award-winning MLB Tonight will be live tomorrow at 6 p.m. ET leading up to Team USA’s quarterfinal matchup against Team Venezuela, including hits with analyst Harold Reynolds and reporter Jon Morosi from loanDepot park. MLB Tonight will be live with pre- and postgame coverage from the semi-finals this March 19th and 20th and finals on Tuesday, March 21st, with Greg Amsinger, Jon Morosi, Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez and Harold Reynolds. MLB Network continues to produce the world feed for the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
The World Baseball Classic is sanctioned by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) as the sport’s official National Team World Championship.