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 MLB.com, “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.
Shohei Ohtani just became the first player in MLB history to cross 4 million followers on Instagram.
He has added 2 million followers since the WBC began and now has 2x more followers than any other MLB player (Mike Tout is #2 with 2 million).
The WBC has been GREAT for MLB. pic.twitter.com/ZCjON3CsHL
— Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) March 21, 2023
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.”
We will never give up. After all, Moses was once a basket case.
Four innings in the books.
Valencia-Dickerson-Lavarnway due up.
?? 0 | ?? 6
— Israel Baseball (@ILBaseball) March 14, 2023
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:
JAPAN WALKS IT OFF! JAPAN WALKS IT OFF! ?????? pic.twitter.com/K5VBlpIyTC
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) March 21, 2023
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 MLB.com, 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.