World Baseball Classic final smashes US viewership records

Baseball: World Baseball Classic - Championship-Japan vs USA
Mar 21, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Japan designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (16) and team Japan celebrate after defeating the USA in the World Baseball Classic at LoanDepot Park. Mandatory Credit: Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES, March 22 (Reuters) - The riveting World Baseball Classic (WBC) final that saw Japan beat the U.S. 3-2 on Tuesday in Miami drew a combined audience of 5.2 million in the U.S., a record for a WBC game, Major League Baseball said on Wednesday.

Shohei Ohtani struck out Mike Trout in a showdown between two of the game's best players to seal Japan's third win in five editions of the global showcase. read more

U.S. viewership for the game soared by 69% from the 2017 final in Los Angeles, and three of the four most-watched games in tournament history took place during this year's edition, MLB said.

Japanese viewership numbers for the final were not yet available, the league added.

Around the world, the five largest viewership gains in comparison to 2017 were Taiwan (+151%), Mexico (+103%), Canada (+44%), South Korea (+36%) and Puerto Rico (+11%).

The next edition of the WBC will be held in 2026.

Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Stephen Coates

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