Skip to content

WBC attendance woes continue at China-Brazil game

Mar 5, 2013, 9:30 AM EDT

badler wbc

Just in case you thought the miniscule World Baseball Classic attendance at the Cuba-China game two days ago was a one-time thing, Ben Badler of Baseball America took another snapshot of the pathetic crowd at last night’s China-Brazil game.

Officially the announced attendance in Japan was 3,110, but Badler guessed that there were actually fewer than 100 people in the stands for a second straight game.

I’m not suggesting that any dramatic conclusions can be drawn from the fact that not many people from China, Brazil, and Cuba travel to Japan to watch their respective teams play in the WBC, but the fact that no one in Japan even wants to see these games definitely says something considering how much Japanese people like baseball in general.

Much like in America, the overall interest level in the WBC just isn’t there when the home team isn’t playing.

  1. Ben - Mar 5, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    I wonder if a significant component is the pretty intense antipathy at the moment between China and Japan. It’s not just that diplomatic relations are rough, but also that the China/Japan relationship is pretty personally felt by both countries’ citizens.

    • historiophiliac - Mar 5, 2013 at 9:51 AM

      Yes, they’re feuding right now, you know.

      • Ben - Mar 5, 2013 at 10:00 AM

        Well, things are more acute at the moment than others in the last, oh, 80 years or so, where there were some lulls. But yeah. 80 years.
        The Senkaku islands situation, the anti-Japanese protests in China. I can’t imagine the Japanese are super-excited to turn out for Chinese games.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 5, 2013 at 10:01 AM

        Dangit, I didn’t think that one needed the “/s”…oh, well.

      • Ben - Mar 5, 2013 at 10:02 AM

        No, I got the sarcasm, I was just filling in some context absent in my first post. I’m a pedant, you see.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 5, 2013 at 10:07 AM

        Pedant away, my friend.

      • stlouis1baseball - Mar 5, 2013 at 10:09 AM

        Really? We covering this topic…again?

      • historiophiliac - Mar 5, 2013 at 10:10 AM

        Don’t interrupt Ben when he’s pedanting. It’s rude.

      • Ben - Mar 5, 2013 at 10:11 AM

        Muchos gracias, historiophiliac.

      • stlouis1baseball - Mar 5, 2013 at 10:15 AM

        Fine…if he wants to spend his time focusing on useless information who am I to stand in the way? “Pedant away” Ben. “Pedant away.” Hahaha!

    • welovemarines - Mar 5, 2013 at 6:34 PM

      No, it has everything to do with expensive tickets for a game held during the work day for two teams that are not exactly baseball powerhouses.

      That’s ALL this means.

  2. whodeytn - Mar 5, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    Nobody cares about it. Lets just hope our favorite players avoid injury in this stupid tournament.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Mar 5, 2013 at 3:02 PM

      Awesome to see so many people in that country supporting my boycott, which will continue until they let Buster Posey play for Burkina Faso.

  3. alexandercartwright - Mar 5, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    I wouldn’t pay to sit & watch Afghanistan or Iran why would I expect the Japanese to for the Chinese.

    Hope there is a post in the making about fan attendance for the Taipei v Korea game.

    • historiophiliac - Mar 5, 2013 at 9:53 AM

      Good comparison. It’s a big leap to say that the low attendance must be related to lack of enthusiasm for the tournament. It makes more sense to look at who is playing first. I don’t think many Staters would show up for the teams you cited either — there would probably be more protests about it than anything.

      • mustbechris - Mar 5, 2013 at 10:17 AM

        I lack enthusiasm for the tournament, if it was in America and they were GIVING tickets away there’s a less than 0% chance I’d go.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 5, 2013 at 10:33 AM

        Well, that’s you then because I would absolutely take those tickets.

      • indaburg - Mar 5, 2013 at 10:47 AM

        You wouldn’t go if the tickets were free? To see some of the best international ballplayers play the game we love to watch?

        Save me a seat, ‘philiac. (In fact, I am going to an exhibition game today between the Fightins and the DR. Should be a good time. Cheesesteaks and platanos.)

      • historiophiliac - Mar 5, 2013 at 10:54 AM

        Ooh, throw popcorn at the phans! :)

      • paperlions - Mar 5, 2013 at 11:47 AM

        I wouldn’t go either. They won’t be giving away gas, parking, beer, or brats…and I’d rather save that money to see an MLB game than a WBC game. Even if it was the “finals”, I just don’t care who wins this “classic” tournament.

        The only exception would be if I had the time off and the weather was so fantastic that just sitting out in the sun would be enjoyable….I’d sit and watch a WBC scrimmage in that scenario.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 5, 2013 at 11:53 AM

        Too late. I’m already taking Burgie. She’s a real baseball fan.

      • paperlions - Mar 5, 2013 at 11:55 AM

        THBPTPT

      • historiophiliac - Mar 5, 2013 at 11:56 AM

        What? No olives? Boooo!!!!

      • paperlions - Mar 5, 2013 at 11:58 AM

        Olives are for after work…it’s too early.

      • mustbechris - Mar 6, 2013 at 11:26 PM

        Fake Olympics. Matters as little to me as the Soccer World Cup. Don’t care if that makes me unenlightened, I have absolutely no interest.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 6, 2013 at 11:33 PM

        Boooo!!!!

    • stlouis1baseball - Mar 5, 2013 at 11:08 AM

      “I wouldn’t pay to sit & watch Afghanistan or Iran why would I expect the Japanese to for the Chinese.”

      Well…if you truly are Alexander Cartwright you would watch the game.
      You would watch ALL the games. Between you and Abner Doubleday…you guys are the forefathers of the great game of baseball. Based upon your post however, I am starting to doubt if you are really Alexander Cartwright.

      • stlouis1baseball - Mar 5, 2013 at 11:53 AM

        Wow. Tough crowd around here today.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 5, 2013 at 11:58 AM

        I felt that way yesterday, dude. I had to check out for a bit. Some peoples need a funny bone implant around heres.

    • pike573 - Mar 5, 2013 at 11:47 AM

      I watched Cuba and Brazil (for some reason) and the stands were also empty for that one. I don’t think the China angle has anything to do with it. I think it’s more Japanese apathy towards the whole WBC.

      • cktai - Mar 5, 2013 at 1:47 PM

        *Japan’s apathy towards any nation which is not their own.

        Their own games are crowded

    • welovemarines - Mar 5, 2013 at 6:35 PM

      Japanese people don’t hate Chinese people, alexander.

  4. cktai - Mar 5, 2013 at 9:51 AM

    Oh and China won 5-2.

    • blacksables - Mar 5, 2013 at 1:10 PM

      Yeah, but that’s not important. Rehashing the attendance issue that was highlighted yesterday is, because it just goes to prove how bad the WBC is to HBT.

      All anti-WBC, all the time.

  5. dukepatrol - Mar 5, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    I agree that the WBC is totally unnecessary. I’ve never been a fan of it and a career can end there. Wake up!! Nobody cares

    • stealing3rd - Mar 5, 2013 at 10:41 AM

      82 million people watched the Japan/Korea finals from the last WBC, and was the sixth most watched TV event of the year, but hey, you don’t care so therefore nobody else must care either. A career can end in spring training, so let’s end that too!

      • welovemarines - Mar 5, 2013 at 6:41 PM

        I care, as do millions of others.

      • badintent - Mar 10, 2013 at 12:26 AM

        Now I know why Y Davish made $258 million in sponor $$$$$$$$ in Japan 2 years ago.I guess that will help cover his girlfriend” G-Cup” Japanese porn star Kiana’s expenses..

  6. charlutes - Mar 5, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    The biggest problem with the WBC is its timing. Its less than a month until MLB, of course no one is focused on it. They need to make it once every 4 years, and have it in the thick of the off season.

    • cktai - Mar 5, 2013 at 10:03 AM

      It is every 4 years. Last edition was in 2009 remember?

  7. heyblueyoustink - Mar 5, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    We should hire ‘Cepts to go and cover these games. Imagine the colorful commentary.

  8. larrybrown43 - Mar 5, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    Baseball fever… Catch it!

  9. orelmiraculous - Mar 5, 2013 at 10:10 AM

    82 million people watched the 09 Final.  82 million.  That is a far bigger audience than any World Series game has seen in years.  Maybe you don’t care about it, but a freaking ton of other people do.

    This blog seems to have an agenda to cynically prove that the WBC is meaningless, but that’s empirically false. 82 freaking million people. It was one of the top 10 most watched sporting events IN THE WORLD that year.

    • stlouis1baseball - Mar 5, 2013 at 10:19 AM

      Thanks Orel. Cause’ I dig it too.

    • sophiethegreatdane - Mar 5, 2013 at 10:46 AM

      I don’t know much about the WBC, but I paid some attention last time because I cared to see what the US was doing. I think the idea is great, and would love to see some more excitement around the event. It will probably never be as popular as, say, the World Cup, but wouldn’t it be great if it was ramped up exponentially beyond what it is?

      That said, I hear what you’re saying about the 82 million that watched the finals last year. But a comparison to the WS is not quite right, given the sheer number of countries/people that the WBC has to pull from. I don’t have the time to calculate percentages, but a very rough calculation shows that roughly 5 million people, per country represented, make up that 82 million.

      Yeah, I know that’s not exactly correct as I’m sure the numbers were skewed to countries with participants in the finals. 82 million people of the 250 million in the US watching a WS game would be big. Is 82 million from the 16 countries participating (and others) really tell us that this is a popular event?

      I’m not being HBT snarky here — I’m genuinely putting the question out there. I don’t know.

      • sophiethegreatdane - Mar 5, 2013 at 10:47 AM

        Last *time*. Not last *year*. EDIT FUNCTION PLEASE!!!!

      • cosanostra71 - Mar 5, 2013 at 11:32 AM

        82 million people is still a lot. To have that many people tune in to the watch the same thing at the same time- it requires a fair amount of interest.

      • cktai - Mar 5, 2013 at 11:48 AM

        Finalists were Japan, South Korea, Venezuela, and United States. Together they have a population of 515 million people, of which the USA constitutes 313 million. So that would give an TV attendance percentage of 16% as opposed to 6% from the World Series.

        Ofcourse you cannot assume that everyone watching was from the 4 finalists. The total population of all those nations is 2166 million, 1330 of which is because of China. That gives a TV percentage of 3.7%. Take in account that baseball is only a very minor sport in China, South Africa, and Australia, and draw only about 2 million viewers in total, you are looking at a TV percentage of 11% of the other nations

      • orelmiraculous - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:09 PM

        Every time a national writer writes about declining TV ratings for baseball or compares them to football, Craig bends over backwards trying to discount the article by arguing that there are other ways to measure popularity, that TV ratings are a complex beast, that the writer has an agenda, etc. 

        And then the WBC rolls around and these guys do the EXACT SAME THING as those NFL writers.  They snarkily mock the tournament and constantly post the bad news, without bothering to point out things like the fact that the Brazil-China game was completely meaningless, that the Taiwan-Korea game today had the largest crowd in the history of the country of Taiwan, that the 09 Final was the 6th most watched sporting event in the world, etc.  It’s a stunning lack of self-awareness.

        I’m still waiting for the post on the record-breaking attendance in Taiwan.  It’s probably not coming though.

      • welovemarines - Mar 5, 2013 at 6:44 PM

        It’s VERY popular in Asia. As in people going to viewing parties in the middle of the night to watch their team popular.

    • paperlions - Mar 5, 2013 at 1:15 PM

      Are you sure?

      1.7 million people in US markets watched that game, about 10% of the average number of people that watched the worst rated WS.

      The US semi-final game couldn’t even draw 3 million viewers, about 1/5 the viewership of the worst rated WS, and to date it was the highest rated WBC game in terms of US viewership.

      Yes, I realize people from other countries may tune in when their team is playing….but so far in the US, there is no evidence that people are interested in the event.

      • welovemarines - Mar 5, 2013 at 6:45 PM

        It’s a global event. The US is just one country involved. Damn near everyone in Korea and Japan watched that final.

      • paperlions - Mar 5, 2013 at 6:48 PM

        It is multi-national, sure….but calling it global is grandiose. People in a few countries really care, people in the vast majority of countries have no idea it is going on, and the vast majority of people in most of the participating countries (including the US), don’t really care….after all, < 1% of the US population watched when the US was in the 2009 semi-finals.

        People in a few countries seem to really dig it though.

  10. thomas844 - Mar 5, 2013 at 10:51 AM

    Anyone watch the Chinese Taipei vs. Korea game this morning? I’ve never seen such enthusiasm for a game by the fans in all my life. Every pitch was like the ninth inning of the World Series.

    • freddieoh - Mar 5, 2013 at 11:29 AM

      This. A million times this. In fact, 82 million times this.

      I am a rabid baseball fan. It’s the greatest game on earth.

      I’ve attended playoff games (in multiple venues, including Cleveland’s first postseason game in 41 years), World Series games (including 1996 in the Bronx), Opening Day games, new stadium openers, last games in old stadiums, Red Sox-Yankees games both in Fenway and in Old Yankee Stadium (both early season and late season with the division on the line, and not just a weekend series but over Labor Day weekend).

      I’ve attended college basketball games in historic and rowdy venues, including old Barnhill Arena and The Pit in New Mexico where they say the decibel levels exceed the sound of jet planes on takeoff; and I’ve attended rowdy college football games, including being on the field for a Michigan State-Ohio State game in the horseshoe and sitting on the fifty yardline in the Cotton Bowl right where they partition the burnt orange from whatever godawful color the Boomer Sooners wear.

      And I have never seen a crowd approaching the intensity of the one I joined for Korea vs. Japan in the WBC in San Diego.

      • orelmiraculous - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:13 PM

        Every time a national writer writes about declining TV ratings for baseball or compares them to football, Craig bends over backwards trying to discount the article by arguing that there are other ways to measure popularity, that TV ratings are a complex beast, that the writer has an agenda, etc. 

        And then the WBC rolls around and these guys do the EXACT SAME THING as those NFL writers.  They snarkily mock the tournament and constantly post the bad news, without bothering to point out things like the fact that the Brazil-China game was completely meaningless, that the Taiwan-Korea game today had the largest crowd in the history of the country of Taiwan, that the 09 Final was the 6th most watched sporting event in the world, etc.  It’s a stunning lack of self-awareness.

        I’m still waiting for the post on the record-breaking attendance in Taiwan.  It’s probably not coming though.

  11. gbar22 - Mar 5, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    It was a dumb idea when it started and nothing has changed.

  12. thebadguyswon - Mar 5, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    Good. The sooner this ridiculous farce is gone, the better.

  13. bat42boy - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    So why does MLB shove this down our throats. Nobody cares who wins or loses. We want real baseball MLB style. Very familiar to soccer that ESPN and FOX shove down our throats. Nobody cares about that either.

    • unclemosesgreen - Mar 5, 2013 at 1:26 PM

      Hundreds of channels to choose from, but you feel the need to log in and type a complaint about what is occasionally airing on a few of them. You know you don’t actually have to watch t.v. at all, let alone watch things you don’t like, don’t you? What’s next, are you going to surf over to nickelodeon.com and start complaining about all the kids’ shows? Grrrrrumble – why is everyone shoving this Power Rangers Megaforce down my throat? Nobody likes kids shows. grrrrrrr.

    • thebadguyswon - Mar 5, 2013 at 1:29 PM

      You’re gonna get negative nabobbed to oblivion. Apparently not liking the WBC is akin to hating baseball and/or being racist.

    • cktai - Mar 5, 2013 at 2:10 PM

      A bit like how you are trying to shove down everybodys throats that no-one cares about the WBC, in threads where there are a lot of people commenting in the WBC and discussing the games?

      Heck people are talking about Taiwan vs Korea in a post that is degrading the WBC, just because they care about the tournament, but this blog fails to give them a proper platform to discuss it; and yet you still pretend nobody is interested.

  14. Bob Timmermann - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    Attendance shaming is in early season form.

    Do the Japanese like baseball in general? Well, they like Japanese baseball. They aren’t much different than North American fans in that regard.

    • unclemosesgreen - Mar 5, 2013 at 1:34 PM

      I like that – “attendance shaming.” I’ve always just hated it without naming it. The Hartford Courant tried to attendance shame (TM – Bob Timmerman) hockey fans after the Whalers left and the Rangers’ minor league team came to town. Problem was – Whalers fans were still bitter that the team moved to North Carolina, and furthermore were none too fond of the Rangers. Attendance figures are a numerical register of fan interest. You can’t drum up interest by shouting at people and belittling them unless you start a religion.

  15. hojo20 - Mar 5, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    I bet the seats are cheap on Stubhub.

  16. ribs108 - Mar 5, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    Are you sure that that empty stadium isn’t in Montreal? Brings back memories…although, there IS diving in baseball, much like you see during Montreal Canadiens games.

  17. klownboy - Mar 5, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    This just in: the WBC stinks! It’s that simple…

  18. southpaw77 - Mar 13, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    Time to move it out of Japan for once. Make team Japan start away from home for the first 2 rounds for a change.

    Change up all the brackets.
    PR, Netherlands, China, and Taiwan/South Korea in the PR region.
    USA, Italy, Canada, Mexico in Toronto’s Rogers Centre
    Japan, Spain, Dominican, and Venezuela down in South America
    Brazil, Australia, Cuba, etc in Australia.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Colby-on-Colby crime in Toronto
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. H. Street (3618)
  2. C. Lee (2652)
  3. T. Tulowitzki (2543)
  4. H. Ramirez (2501)
  5. Y. Puig (2303)
  1. T. Walker (2259)
  2. C. Headley (2191)
  3. B. Belt (2122)
  4. D. Price (2096)
  5. M. Trout (2064)