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#pounditThursday, February 29, 2024

Could Japan vs. USA be the most watched baseball game ever?

Shohei Ohtani smiles

Jul 19, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; American League pitcher/designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) of the Los Angeles Angels smiles at fans before the 2022 MLB All Star Game at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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.

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