Ratings Roundup: World Baseball Classic Final Game is Most-Watched WBC Game Ever in US

Ratings Roundup is a rundown of recent rating news and is derived from press releases and reports around the industry. In this week’s edition, World Baseball Classic sets new tournament viewing records; ESPN men’s college basketball Championship week reaches 28 million unique viewers.

 ESPN Men’s College Basketball Champ Week Reached 28 Million Unique Viewers

Conference Championship game top audiences:

  • ACC: 2.7 million
  • Big 12: 2.5 million
  • SEC: 1.9 million – most viewed since 2019
  • American Athletic: 1.7 million – most viewed since 2014
  • Pac-12: 1.6 million – most viewed since 2019

2023 World Baseball Classic First Round Sets Records in Attendance, Viewership, and Merchandise Sales

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.

Global Viewership

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.

Social Media

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.

Japan Walk Off Win vs. Mexico on FOX Deportes Shatters WBC Spanish-language Viewership Record

  • Most-watched World Baseball Classic game in Spanish-language in TV history
  • Second most-watched baseball game in Spanish-language TV whispery (2017 World Series game 7)
  • +82% increase over the 2017 final between the United States and Puerto Rico on ESPN Deportes
  • WBC Semifinals averaged 488,000 viewers (more than double the previous average of 233,00 on ESPN Disports in 2017)

2023 World Baseball Classic Sets New Tournament Records

The 2023 World Baseball Classic shattered tournament viewership, attendance and merchandise records as Samurai Japan took home the Gold Medal with one-run wins in both the Semifinal and Final of the tournament.


The Quarterfinal game between Japan and Italy rated a 48.7 in Japan, making it the most-watched game in World Baseball Classic history. Three of the four most-watched games in tournament history on record took place during this year’s Classic.
1. 48.7: Japan vs. Italy (2023 Quarterfinals)
2. 44.4: Japan vs. Korea (2023 First Round)
3. 43.4: Japan vs. Cuba (2006 World Baseball Classic Final)
4. 42.5: Japan vs. Mexico (2023 Semifinals)
The rating in Japan for the 2023 Final was not yet available at the time of publication.

Please note that the 2023 Final and Semifinal games started in the 8 a.m. hour on a weekday in Japan. The numbers represent the average percentage of Households in Japan that watched the game.

Around the world, the five largest viewership gains in comparison to 2017 were:
1. Taiwan +151%
2. Mexico +103%
3. Canada +44%
4. Korea +36%
5. Puerto Rico +11%
These viewership gains are in reference to games featuring each country’s respective national teams.

The 2023 World Baseball Classc Final on FS1, FOX Deportes and FOX Sports streaming services was the most-watched WBC game ever in the U.S., up +69% from the 2017 Final with a combined audience of 5.2 million viewers. A peak combined average audience of 6.506 million viewers tuned in for the epic conclusion of the tournament which saw Shohei Ohtani strike out his Angels teammate and Team USA Captain Mike Trout to clinch the title.

The 2023 Semifinals on FS1 and FOX Deportes was the most-watched semifinal round of any World Baseball Classic in the U.S. The two games averaged 2.403 million viewers, an increase of +96% compared to the 2017 Semifinals.

The 2023 World Baseball Classic final attendance was 1,306,414, the highest in the history of the tournament. The 2023 total is a +20% increase over the previous record in 2017 of 1,086,720.

Sales of World Baseball Classic merchandise on MLBShop.com and Fanatics set a new tournament record breaking the previous top mark in 2017 by +149%.
Merchandise sales across the four 2023 World Baseball Classic host venues were the highest in the history of the event and more than +100% higher than in 2017.

The average daily engagements per post more than doubled (+102%) during the Semifinal and Final rounds for the World Baseball Classic social media account across Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Shohei Ohtani’s Instagram following increased more than 2.1 million during the tournament, an increase of +89%. Ohtani is the first Major League Baseball player to surpass 4 million followers on Instagram with over 4.5 million followers following the tournament. Ohtani’s post after winning the Semifinal game vs. Mexico generated 2.4 million engagements, the most engaged player post of the World Baseball Classic.
Randy Arozarena increased his Instagram following by +299%, the greatest growth percentage of any MLB player in the past week. On Twitter, Arozarena saw the most follower growth by percentage during the tournament with a +105% increase.

Coverage of 2023 World Baseball Classic spanned 163 countries and territories, with 63 different media partners broadcasting the tournament in 13 languages. The partnerships include rights across all media with global distribution of live games and highlights on linear television, streaming services, and audio platforms for all 47 games of the premier international baseball tournament. Outside the U.S., Japan and Puerto Rico, WBCI worked with IMG, a global leader in sports, events and media, to secure a global network of broadcasters and diversify the 2023 tournament coverage to reach to new fans around the globe.

World Baseball Classic Final is Most-Watched WBC Game Ever in US

5.2 million viewers tuned-in across FS1, FOX Deportes and FOX Sports streaming services to watch Japan’s victory over USA in the World Baseball. Classic Final

  • The most-watched World Baseball Classic game ever in the US
  • On FS1, the WBC Final averaged 4.5 million viewers, delivering the most-watched WBC game ever on a single network, the most-watched telecast on FS1 since Game 3 of the 2022 NLCS (4,882,000) and the night’s most-watched telecast on cable
  • Viewership on FS1 and FOX Deportes peaked at a combined 6.5 million viewers from 10:30 – 10:45 PM ET.
  • FOX Deportes averaged 492,000 viewers for the WBC Final


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