The first 20-team World Baseball Classic has begun! 

Initially scheduled for 2021 but eventually postponed due to the pandemic, the fifth edition of the World Classic Baseball tournament started on March 08, 2023.

🏆 This is the fifth instalment of the WBC and the first since the USA defeated Puerto Rico to win the 2017 event. Japan (2006 and 2009) and the Dominican Republic (2013) won the first three tournaments.

📈 The WBC has expanded from 16 teams to 20 teams, the most ever in the W.B.C., up from 16 last time, in 2017. Panama triumphantly returns to the global baseball stage to fill one of those spots while three debutants have qualified – Great Britain, Czech Republic, and Nicaragua.

🌎 The 20 teams that qualified for the tournament are divided into four groups, playing in Phoenix; Miami; Taichung, Taiwan; and Tokyo. All places where baseball has high levels of acceptance.

Pool play in the WBC is competed in a round-robin double-elimination style. The top two teams from each of the four pools advance and play in what MLB.comcalls “essentially an eight-team, single-elimination bracket.” The semifinals and final will be held in Miami from March 19 to 21.

The last time the event was held, it attracted 973,699 fans. To take a step forward would be to exceed 1 million, which means 56% of the total seats available this 2023.

Jim Small, the MLB SVP/International, has mentioned that this WBC is on pace to set an attendance record. In addition, MLB, through Commissioner Rob Manfred, announced that ticket sales are the best in history.

🏟 In Miami, large crowds are expected to watch the games. The Marlins’ ballpark expects sellouts of the quarterfinals, semifinals and the March 21 championship game without fans knowing which teams will advance that far. Almost all the ticket buyers are from outside South Florida.

The sponsorship revenue has increased by 31% from the 2017 event, with 52 sponsors across 10 countries. 

The World Classic seeks to be a profitable business and, with the support of the most important league in the world, the MLB, to popularise it. If the World Classic is a success, it is a relevant opportunity to place the sport in a place to boost its development.

🗞 Don’t miss the next newsletter. Subscribe here:


Receive SiS weekly newsletter with sport business and innovation news.