Shohei Ohtani Sam Navarro | USA Today

While the World Baseball Classic gave us moments we’ll be able to revisit for a very long time, there’s one particular part of the sport that truly benefitted.

The social and digital media space.

The fan interest alone showed in robust forms. According to, “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.”

Japanese two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani’s social media numbers were impacted by his participation in the WBC as well.

He increased his social following by 2 million since the WBC began. He’s also the first player in MLB history to surpass 4 million followers on Instagram. That’s double what his Los Angeles Angels teammate Mike Trout possesses on the platform.

The international love continues, of course.

Many fell in love with Team Israel’s Twitter account which continued to tweet funny jokes:

“We will never give up,” the account tweeted. “After all, Moses was once a basket case.”

It was even dubbed “the best social media account in the tournament,” by the Los Angeles Times’ own Bill Shaikin.

Speaking of social media, Japan’s walk-off win against Team Mexico on Monday night resulted in MLB on Fox’s most retweeted and viewed tweet ever on the account.

Joe Davis was on the call:

As far as those watching the games in person, the first round drew in 1,010,999 fans, which was the most attended round in the history of the tournament. That’s a +98% increase since 2017.

The US venues alone had historical numbers as well. Both, according to, set single-day attendance records in the history of the buildings during the first round on March 11. loanDepot park drew 71,289 while Chase Field had a total attendance of 68,147 both over the course of two games.

Not bad at all.

This kind of social and digital media growth worldwide is a huge development for baseball as it looks to grow the game and the followings of some of its biggest names. The argument has existed for years that baseball needs to do a better job building its stars and the WBC is doing just that.


About Jessica Kleinschmidt

Jess is a baseball fan with Reno, Nev. roots residing in the Bay Area. She is the host of "Short and to the Point" and is also a broadcaster with the Oakland A's Radio Network. She previously worked for and NBC Sports Bay Area.