Could Japan vs. USA be the most watched baseball game ever?
The World Baseball Classic has produced a dream matchup in the finals for TV executives with Japan set to face the United States on Tuesday night. Though the WBC hasn’t caught on in popularity for all sports fans in the U.S., there is little doubt that the game will generate huge viewership numbers globally and perhaps set a record.
Japan has a population of just over 125 million people, and baseball is by far their No. 1 sport. Think of baseball in Japan like the NFL in the U.S. — it is king. Throughout the WBC, Japan’s national baseball team has generated huge viewership numbers.
Their pool play game against rival South Korea delivered over 55 million viewers. Their quarterfinal matchup against Italy was watched by over 62 million people.
One Twitter account pointed out that a championship game against the U.S. could result in the most watched baseball game ever.
Japan vs Orix Buffalos was watched by 36 million people in Japan
Japan vs Korea 55+ million
Japan vs Italy 62.5 million
Most watched World Series game: 54.5 million in 1980
Good chance USA vs JAPAN is the most watched baseball game of all time pic.twitter.com/vWDHd3sOsM
— Baseball Doesn't Exist (@BaseballDoesnt) March 21, 2023
There are a few things to note.
Japan’s games against South Korea and Italy took place in Japan during prime time. The semifinal game against Mexico on Monday and finals game against the U.S. on Tuesday are taking place in Miami, which translates to the morning in Japan.
Even if the game is televised at 8:00 am in Japan, plenty of people will want to watch. As for Team USA, their games against Cuba and Venezuela have had around 2 million viewers.
Combining the two figures — viewership in the U.S. and viewership in Japan and other countries — means Tuesday night’s WBC final game could be the most watched baseball game ever.