At least for America, the 2017 World Baseball Classic was by far the most exciting installment of the event that started in 2006. Sure, USA won, but I would hold that opinion even if Japan ousted my country in the semifinals. There were just so many different moments and stories. The USA win was just gravy.
Whatever the reason, the numbers bear out that the event is gaining steam both nationally and across the world.
The entire WBC drew 1,086,720 fans in attendance, which shattered the previous high of 885,212 by 23 percent. The championship game in Dodger Stadium on Wednesday night drew 51,565, which was the second-highest game attendance in the history of the event.
In terms of ratings, 3.1 million viewers in the United States watched the championship game, which was the largest U.S. TV audience in the history of the event. This figure includes the ESPN Deportes telecast that was simulcast on ESPN2.
If we stick to only MLB Network, the number was 2.3 million viewers. That was the second-largest audience ever on MLB Network, trailing only Game 2 of the Giants-Cubs NLDS this past postseason.
Further, MLB Network reports that March 6-12 was its most-watched week since the network’s inception.
Merchandise sales grew 50 percent from the 2013 WBC.
We could keep going, but it’s pretty simple. This thing is catching on and not going anywhere. In fact, the bet here is it only gets bigger and better to the point that it’s actually close to a marquee event in two or three times cycles