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Attendance and Television Ratings Shine for '09 World Baseball Classic PDF Print E-mail
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World Baseball Classic
Written by Maury Brown   
Sunday, 15 March 2009 12:26

World Baseball ClassicYesterday, we reported how average attendance figures were broken down for the first-round of the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classic, and the findings showed that there is an overwhelming increase in interest worldwide.

Today, more attendance and television ratings info has been made available via World Baseball Classic, Inc.

  • Round One attendance in 2009 surpassed the attendance from Round One of the 2006 World Baseball Classic by approximately 38%. More than 450,000 fans attended Round One games in 2009 compared with just over 326,000 fans for the inaugural World Baseball Classic.
  • The Tokyo Dome recorded three sellouts in the first round, selling out each of the three Japan games on March 5th against China, March 7th against Korea and March 9th against Korea.
  • Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico drew a sellout crowd of 19,483 on March 9th for the game between Puerto Rico and the Netherlands, and duplicated the feat with 19,501 fans in attendance for a rematch between the teams in the Pool D championship game on March 11th.
  •  Saturday’s game between the United States and Canada drew 43,000 fans to the Rogers Centre. Only three games between the Blue Jays and Yankees, and three games between the Jays and Red Sox had a higher attendance at the venue over the last year.
  • Toronto’s Rogers Centre set a single-day merchandise sales record for a non-World Series baseball event on March 7th, during the opening day of Pool C which featured the United States taking on Canada and Italy vs. Venezuela.
  • The game between the United States and Canada on ESPN on Saturday, March 7th drew a 1.4 rating with 1,850,000 viewers tuning in. It was the third-most watched sports telecast on cable last week.
  • Sunday night’s game between the United States and Venezuela posted a 2.0 rating with 2,645,000 viewers tuning in, ranking as the most watched World Baseball Classic game ever, eclipsing the 2006 second round game between Mexico and the U.S. which was seen by 2,458,000 people. In addition, it was the most watched sporting event on basic cable for the week.
  • Saturday night’s game between Japan and Korea delivered a 37.8 rating in Japan, topping the 28.2 for the tournament opener on Thursday to rank as the highest-rated sports telecast in that country since the 2006 World Baseball Classic Final between Japan and Cuba (43.4), including the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
  • Domestic television ratings for the 2009 World Baseball Classic Round One games broadcast on ESPN averaged a 1.3 rating, up over 40% from 2006. The four games averaged 1,745,000 viewers, up almost 90% compared to 2006 Round One games.
  • Five of the 2009 World Baseball Classic Round One games were the highest-rated non-soccer events ever broadcast on ESPN Deportes, including the March 10th contest between Cuba and Australia which posted a 3.3 rating, the station’s highest-rated Round One game.

Source: World Baseball Classic, Inc.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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ESPN Sees Hot Ratings for Start of World Baseball Classic PDF Print E-mail
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World Baseball Classic
Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 12 March 2009 18:13

WBC logoESPN’s multimedia coverage of the 2009 World Baseball Classic is off to a strong start, with first-round game coverage on ESPN (four telecasts) averaging a 1.3 rating (up 44 percent), 1,300,000 households (up 57 percent) and 1,745,000 viewers (up 88 percent).  At this point in 2006, ESPN’s World Baseball Classic games averaged a 0.9 rating, 829,000 households and 930,000 viewers (two telecasts).   

Team USA’s Sunday night (March 8) game against Venezuela posted 1,943,000 households and 2,645,000 viewers to become the most-viewed World Baseball Classic telecast ever.  The corresponding 2.0 rating matched ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball average rating for 2008.  The 2.0 rating was the second highest-rated World Baseball Classic game ever, trailing only a 2.1 rating for a second-round game between Team USA and Mexico in 2006.

The World Baseball Classic has also led to impressive audience growth for ESPN Deportes and ESPN360.com.

ESPN Deportes

  • Cuba vs. Australia on Tuesday, March 10, delivered a 3.3 rating to become the network’s highest-rated non-soccer event ever (previously, the Mexico/Venezuela Caribbean World Series game, Feb. 6, 2009, posted a 2.2 rating);
  • The six highest-rated non-soccer events on ESPN Deportes are all World Baseball Classic games;
  • Tuesday, March 10, was ESPN Deportes’ most-viewed day ever, delivering 71,000 Hispanic household impressions (the previous high was June 29, 2008, the day of the Euro 2008 final, with 63,000 Hispanic household impressions).
  • Live World Baseball Classic games are averaging a 1.5 rating, 65,000 households and 89,000 viewers.

ESPNdeportes.com

  • The World Baseball Classic helped drive ESPNdeportes.com to its biggest traffic day ever (Wednesday, March 11), with more than 9.6 million minutes spent and nearly 5.6 million page views.

ESPN360.com

  • USA vs. Canada (Saturday, March 7) was the most-viewed event of the day;
  • Fans have watched an average of 41 minutes per stream for World Baseball Classic games.

ESPN.com

  • There have been 1.9 million views of World Baseball Classic-related video.

Upcoming ESPN World Baseball Classic Coverage

ESPN’s second-round coverage will lead off with several intriguing matchups:

(From Miami)

  • The Cinderella Netherlands team, which upset the Dominican Republic twice in the first round, facing Venezuela Saturday, March 14, at 1 p.m. on ESPN Deportes;
  • Team USA – looking to avenge its unexpected second-round exit in 2006 –meeting Puerto Rico Saturday, March 14, at 8 p.m. on ESPN Deportes.

(From San Diego)

  • Japan – the defending champion – meeting the winner of the Mexico/Cuba first-round game Sunday, March 15, at 4 p.m.  (If Cuba defeats Mexico and plays Japan, it would be a rematch of the 2006 World Baseball Classic final);
  • The loser of the Mexico/Cuba game playing Korea Sunday, March 15, at 11 p.m. on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and ESPN360.com.

Gary Thorne (first two games) and Dan Shulman (remaining games) will provide play-by-play for ESPN’s coverage from San Diego, joined by analysts Orel Hershiser and Steve Phillips.  Dave O’Brien will call ESPN telecasts from Miami with analyst Rick Sutcliffe.

Ernesto Jerez will call ESPN Deportes telecasts from Miami, with analyst Candy Maldonado and reporter Guillermo Celis.  Fernando Alvarez will provide commentary for the ESPN Deportes telecasts from San Diego, with analyst Carlos Baerga and reporter Jaime Motta.  Additional content is available via ESPNdeportes.com, along with reports on ESPN.com from Enrique Rojas.

Select Read More to see the upcoming ESPN World Baseball Classic Broadcast schedule

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World Baseball Classic Opener In Japan Garners Big TV Numbers PDF Print E-mail
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World Baseball Classic
Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 06 March 2009 12:54
WBC 2009

They love their baseball in Japan, even if Ichiro is in a major slump.

The World Baseball Classic opening game between China and Japan played on Thursday night in Tokyo, Japan drew a 28.2 television rating, the highest rated sporting event on Japan television this year edging out the “Eki-Den” road race on January 3 (27.7). The rating, which was the exact same as Game Seven of the Japan Series last year, was the highest for any baseball game in Japan since the final game of the 2006 World Baseball Classic between Japan and Cuba which drew a 43.4 television rating.

Source: World Baseball Classic, Inc.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Updated Rosters for World Baseball Classic Released PDF Print E-mail
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World Baseball Classic
Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 03 March 2009 00:06

WBCWhen the provisional rosters for the upcoming World Baseball Classic were released in mid-January, it was understood that some players would no longer be set to play by the time the festivities would kick off at the beginning of March.

If you have been keeping track through the injury reports, you will see that several U.S. players will not be representing their country due to various strains and stresses. Add in that several clubs have forced some players off rosters, and the list of players that will eventually suit up this year will be far different.

With the first game of Pool A set to throw out the first pitch of the WBC three days from now on Thurs., March 5 the rosters are pretty much set.

Select Read More to see the most recent players for the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

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Umpires for World Baseball Classic Announced PDF Print E-mail
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World Baseball Classic
Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 25 February 2009 23:22

WBCWorld Baseball Classic, Inc. today announced the umpires selected for all 2009 World Baseball Classic games.

Thirty-six (36) umpires, spanning nine of the countries competing in the tournament, have been assigned to World Baseball Classic games. Umpire crews will be comprised equally of both Major League Baseball umpires and international umpires. Four-umpire crews will work the games of the first two rounds and six-man crews will be assigned to the games of the Semi-Finals and Final.

Twenty-one (21) of the 36 World Baseball Classic umpires are full-time members of the Major League staff, including crew chiefs Derryl Cousins, Dana DeMuth and Joe West. Also among the choices are four members of Nippon Professional Baseball (Minoru Nakamura, Masato Tomoyose, Hitoshi Watarida and Masami Yoshikawa) and two members of the Korean Baseball Organization (Seong Hoon Moon and Seok Hwan Oh).

Select Read More to see the umpires for WBC 2009

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Several Rule Changes Adopted for Upcoming World Baseball Classic PDF Print E-mail
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World Baseball Classic
Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 30 January 2009 10:46

World Baseball ClassicThe Steering Committee of World Baseball Classic, Inc. met Thursday and approved several recommendations made by the tournament’s Rules and Regulations Committee. The following provisions will be in place in the 2009 World Baseball Classic:

  • Pitch-count limits will be increased to 70 per game in Round One, 85 per game in Round Two and 100 per game in the Semi-Finals and Final (increased from 65/80/95 in 2006);
  • With Semi-Final games being played on consecutive days, a pitcher rest equalization rule will be implemented to avoid giving an advantage to the team that played first. Any pitcher who throws 30 or more pitches in the Semi-Finals will not be eligible to pitch in the Finals;
  • The MLB rule on video replay will be adopted, allowing a review by umpires for certain “boundary” calls (home run over fence; fair/foul home run call; fan interference on home run call);
  • Base coaches will be required to wear protective helmets;
  • Participating teams will be required to announce the next day’s starting pitcher;
  • A variant of the IBAF extra-inning rule, which was used in the 2008 Olympics, will be utilized: beginning with 13th inning, each half-inning will begin with runners on first and second base, with the batting order intact. The applicability of the rule to the championship game of the tournament is under review by the Rules and Regulations Committee.

The World Baseball Classic starts on March 5 with the first game being between China and Japan. (see complete schedule details).

See the complete provisional rosters for the 2009 WBC.

MLB Network will broadcast 16 World Baseball Classic games this year.

ESPN Deportes, the Spanish-language home of baseball in the U.S., will present coverage of all 39 games of the 2009 World Baseball Classic. The network, which under a previously announced deal secured rights to 23 games of the event, secured exclusive Spanish-language rights for the remaining 16 games, it was announced Thursday.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Provisional Rosters for World Baseball Classic Announced PDF Print E-mail
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World Baseball Classic
Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 19 January 2009 20:36

WBCEach of the 16 Baseball Federations participating in the 2009 World Baseball Classic has submitted its provisional roster prior to today’s deadline. Provisional rosters allow Federations to list up to 45 players from which the final 28-man rosters will be selected. Each Federation must submit its final roster, including a minimum of 13 pitchers and two catchers, by February 24th.

Notable MLB players include Rich Haren, Russell Martin, Justin Morneau, Jason Bay, Matt Stairs (Canada), Pedro Martinez, Tony Pena, Ervin Santana, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Miguel Tejada, Vladimir Guerrero, Alfonso Soriano, Willy Taveras, David Ortiz (Dominican Republic), Daisuke Matsuzaka, Hideki Okajima, Kenji Johjima, Kosuke Fukudome, Ichiro Suzuki (Japan), Javier Lopez, Joel Pineiro, J.C. Romero, Yadier Molina, Ivan Rodriguez, Carlos Delgado, Mike Lowell, Bernie Williams (Puerto Rico), Scott Kamir, Ted Lilly, Jake Peavy, Derk Jeter, Chipper Jones, Roy Ozwalt, A.J. Pierzynski, Derek Lee, Evan Longoria, Dustin Pedroia, Jimmy Rollins, David Wright, Kevin Youkilis, Grady Sizemore, Shane Victorino (United States), Félix Hernández, Francisco Rodríguez, Johan Santana, Carlos Zambrano, Dioner Navarro, Miguel Cabrera, Bobby Abreu, Endy Chávez, Magglio Ordóñez (Venezula)

Select Read More to see an accompanying PDF for each National Team’s complete provisional roster:

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MasterCard, Anheuser-Busch Back Out as Advertisers for 2009 World Baseball Classic PDF Print E-mail
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World Baseball Classic
Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 22 December 2008 14:09

WBC 2009MasterCard, Inc. (NYSE: MA) and Anheuser-Busch InBev NV will not be renewing as major advertisers for the upcoming World Baseball Classic, another sign that the recession is influencing ad budgets. MasterCard was a global partner in 2006, while Anheuser-Busch was a partner in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. And, according to Bloomberg News, it’s possible that PepsiCo Inc. (NYSE: PEP) may back out, as well.

“Like anything else we are taking a look at all our sponsorships,” MasterCard spokesman Jon Schwartz said in an interview with Bloomberg. “It was one of those that didn’t make the cut.”

As further reported by Bloomberg:

Instead of Anheuser-Busch, the event will have five beer sponsors, with Asahi in Japan, Presidente in Latin America and three more to be named, said MLB spokesman Matt Bourne.

“We are very satisfied with our sponsorship in the beer category,” he said in an interview. “Our strategy from the start has been to focus on regional sales in certain categories.”


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Winter Meetings Day 3 – Report #2 – All Things World Baseball Classic PDF Print E-mail
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World Baseball Classic
Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 10 December 2008 15:07

 WBC Press Conference

Harold Reynolds, Davey Johnson, Paul Archey, Tommy Lasorda, Derek Jeter, Donald Fehr,
Bob Dupuy, and other officials at today's World Baseball Classic press conference
on Day 3 of the winter meetings in Las Vegas.

All things World Baseball Classic dominated a lengthy press conference here on the third day of the MLB Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. MLB Network will be broadcasting 16 World Baseball Classic games this spring, along with a nightly show dedicated to the WBC.

World Baseball Classic Tonight, which will debut in February, will feature highlights, analysis, feature stories and special reports. MLB Net also announced today that they will are the World Baseball Classic Selection Show, a studio show reporting on the accouchement of the rosters.

In other WBC News…

MLB COO Bob DuPuy announced that Tommy Lasorda will serve as global ambassador for the WBC.

USA Baseball also officially announced that Davey Johnson will be the head coach for USA’s team in the WBC.

“It’s really an honor to represent your country. It’s really a thrill,” Johnson said.

Derek Jeter was officially introduced as the captain of team USA Baseball.

Jeter said, “I think that when the WBC started there was a lot of skepticism by the players. When we took the field, that all changed.”

“The players are pretty excited about this.”

Tickets for the Semi-Finals through the Finals will be released on December 8.

Early on in the WBC ticket sale process WBC could not provide definitive numbers sold to date, but they are confident that they will meet or exceed the total from last year.

On the question of injuries that may occur, Donald Fehr and Bob DuPuy downplayed any chance of MLB players winding up being injured as part of the WBC and that as many precautions as could be made would be done so.

Jeter responded that now, more than ever, players are preparing for the season earlier on, and that should help minimize chances for players being hurt.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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ESPN to Offer Multimedia Coverage of 2009 World Baseball Classic PDF Print E-mail
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World Baseball Classic
Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 07 October 2008 13:45

WBC 2009ESPN will present multimedia coverage of the 2009 World Baseball Classic including coverage across ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN2, ESPN2 HD, ESPN Deportes, ESPN International, ESPNEWS, ESPNEWS HD, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN360.com, ESPN Mobile Properties and more.  

World Baseball Classic coverage highlights include:

  • Up to 39 games via ESPN International distribution;
  • ESPN and ESPN2 combining to televise 23 games in the U.S. beginning March 5, 2009;
  • The semifinals – Saturday, March 21, and Sunday, March 22 – and final, Monday, March 23, from Dodger Stadium;
  • All ESPN and ESPN2 telecasts simulcast via ESPN360.com and ESPN Mobile TV;
  • ESPN Deportes, ESPN’s Spanish-language network in the U.S., televising 23 games;
  • 23 games (ESPN and ESPN2 telecasts) available in Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands; 23 games available on ESPN Deportes in Puerto Rico.

"ESPN looks forward to working with the World Baseball Classic to build on what we started in 2006,” said Len DeLuca, ESPN Senior Vice President, Programming and Acquisitions.  “We have more games for ESPN, a deeper multimedia offering, and wider international rights.  We look forward to collaborating to make this the best global championship in March."

“ESPN has the proven ability to convey the excitement and national pride that the World Baseball Classic generates among the players and fans,” said Bob DuPuy, Major League Baseball President and Chief Operating Officer. 

"'Baseball Spoken Here' is our motto, and so we're delighted that once again we are partnering with ESPN to bring the world the games, and the thrills, of the second World Baseball Classic,” said Gene Orza, MLBPA Chief Operating Officer.  “No one ‘speaks baseball’ better than ESPN."

Additional World Baseball Classic coverage will include:

  • ESPN Radio broadcasting the semifinals and final, along with three additional games;
  • Comprehensive highlights within SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight and ESPNEWS;
  • Extensive ESPN.com content featuring highlights, news and information.

ESPN International will televise up to 39 games in Africa, Australia, Europe (via NASN, which will become ESPN America on Feb. 1), Latin America, the Middle East and New Zealand.

The 23 games broadcasted domestically will be added to the 16 games that will be broadcasted on the upcoming MLB Network slated to launch January 1 on basic cable.

Source: ESPN


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer.

Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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