While the World Baseball Classic has been banished to late nights and early mornings in America over the first week of the tournament, the games have been airing at much more palatable times in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and the rest of the eastern Asia area. And through the first round, the WBC is dominating in Japan.
MLB: One-third of all TVs in Japan were turned to WBC for three first-round games, topping 2012 Summer Olympics.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 8, 2013
One third of all the TVs in the country, watching their home country in a tournament that Americans simply just don't care about. That's astounding. In America, the Summer Olympics this year on NBC averaged a 17.8 rating in primetime. Could you ever imagine any baseball game in this day and age earn a number like that, let alone the World Baseball Classic on MLB Network? It would simply be unheard of. Yet in Japan, that happened with ease for Team Japan's three games in Pool A of the WBC against Cuba, China, and Brazil in Fukuoka.
After Team Japan's thrilling extra innings win over Chinese Taipei on Friday morning, they're guaranteed at least two more games in the tournament. Their next game is against the Netherlands on Sunday morning in America (Sunday evening in Japan), and after that, they've got a rematch with either Cuba, Chinese Taipei, or the Netherlands on Sunday or Monday. For as little impact as the WBC has made in America, it's clearly making waves across the rest of the world, which was probably the end goal of MLB when they created it anyways.