If you gather the most talented baseball players from around the world and pit their countries against each other in tournaments, they will come. OK, so it might not be as catchy as the popular “field of dreams” quote, but baseball fans have come out in huge numbers to support the World Baseball Classic this year.
According to MLB, more than one million fans attended the first round games. The first round of the tournament attracted 1,010,999 fans, making it the most attended round in WBC history. That figure broke the previous record for attendance, which was 510,056 during the 2017 tournament.
Japan’s Tokyo Dome fans were most excited about the event. The first round game at the Tokyo Dome set a record for fans in one venue for a round of the tournament, with 361,976, and the highest average attendance in a first or second round, with 36,198 fans per game.
The United States also saw a huge increase in attendance. In Miami, 295,850 fans came out to watch the Pool D game, a record for WBC attendance in the US, and the Mexico–USA game at Chase Field in Phoenix set the record for the most attended first round WBC game with 47,534 fans. .
Viewership has also increased. The Japan–Korea game drew a 44.4 rating in Japan, a higher rating than any sport featured at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Taiwan, Puerto Rico, Korea and the Dominican Republic all saw significant increases in viewership for the 2023 WBC as well.
In addition to all this, the fans already broke the record for best-selling WBC merchandise. Anything purchased during the quarterfinals will add to that record, which, like everything related to the 2023 World Baseball Classic, is likely on pace to shatter.