Yankees Talk: The World Baseball Classic Pacific Time Bias
The World Baseball Classic was setting all types of TV ratings and attendance marks on the east coast. Yankees fans want to know why they moved the later rounds out west?
This year’s World Baseball Classic has honestly been pretty fantastic — especially the quarterfinal matchups. But most of the U.S. is unaware because recent games are being held in San Diego, and don’t begin until a little after 10 PM Eastern Time. For Yankees fans, most of us are out like a light by the time the fourth inning rolls around.
The scheduling of this tournament has been rather curious by the World Baseball Softball Confederation. In a continued effort to grow the game of baseball, the WBSC continues to neglect a bonafide larger portion of baseball viewers across major baseball markets in the U.S.
According to a September 2016 study conducted by Nielsen, of the 29 MLB team markets, only two Pacific Time Zone teams (the Mariners and Giants) were ranked within the top 15 when it came to the highest number of viewers per game.
Coincidentally, three of the bottom five worst TV markets in the country belong to west coast clubs (Dodgers, Angels, and Athletics). For those wondering the most watched time zone and its corresponding teams — well that would happen to be the Central Time and its Royals, Cardinals, and Tigers.
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As if it wasn’t going to be hard enough for fans to get invested in an exhibition tournament that is going up against the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, the remainder of games now move to a 9 PM Eastern Time start in Los Angeles for the semifinal matchups of the U.S. versus Japan, and Puerto Rico versus the Netherlands — and subsequent championship game on Wednesday, March 22.
The proof is in the pudding — as games telecast through March 11 on the MLB Network were up 18 percent over the 2013 WBC. The key contest in that target audience was the U.S. versus the Dominican Republic, held in Miami. That game drew 977,000 viewers, which was MLB Network’s most watched non-playoff telecast ever, and garnered the second best ratings of all-time for the network, according to Forbes.
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That game also set the largest attendance mark in the short history of Marlins Park, with a capacity crowd of 37,446. It totally made sense to move the WBC out from the east coast… said no one!