The World Baseball Classic is the pinnacle international baseball tournament that is held every four years.
It features national teams from around the world, and it is organised by the World Baseball Softball Confederation. The 2023 World Baseball Classic was a huge step in the right direction for Baseball in Australia. This month we saw some of the best of the best in the current Australian Baseball League, unite to take on the World Baseball Classic.
Team Australia competed in Pool B, which featured world No.1 Japan, as well as Korea, China and Czech Republic. The opening game of Team Australia’s WBC campaign would be the biggest game in Australian history, but they didn’t know that yet! When the Australian team clinched the game against Korea, every baseball fan back home was cheering. What this win meant for the sport, was that the chance of a first-time quarter final spot was achievable. And they did it! Coming out of Pool B in 2nd place – Team Australia, for the first time in history, progressed to the quarter finals and were set to play Cuba.
Baseball Australia this month, highlighted the immediate impact that this progression had on our sport. In the article “Australian Baseball Gone Viral”, they highlight this fact – Baseball has been played in Australia since the 1850s but it enjoys a small fraction. Participation in Baseball is around 57,000 [with a majority of those numbers coming from right here in NSW]. To put it in perspective, there are 30 registered cricketers in Australia for every baseballer. But Australia potentially caught the attention, and the hearts, of many people both nationally and internationally, by making history. These are some of the standout figures from Baseball Australia’s Article:
- Team Australia received coverage across Major News outlets such as ESPN, Japan Times, ABC, The Athletic, MLB.COM, MSN
- Tim Kennelly’s Daughter was caught by Japanese TV saying “Let’s go Georgie”.
- Seen by 3 million people and trending on Japanese twitter
- Broadcast had a 44% market share vs Japan in Japanese’s households = 60,000,000
- Images from SMP Website on Team Australia baseball were downloaded in 71 different countries on digital news services and news tracking services found a reach of 148 million.
- Over 22,000 photo downloads from news agencies with media subscriptions
- 36% increase in Instagram followers over past 30 days for Team Australia
- From that an extra 13.5% increase in Instagram followers over past 30 days for Baseball NSW
- Eleven of Australia’s players have MLB affiliate contracts. Fifteen have played in Triple-A or higher. Two have played in the Major Leagues. Another has played in the Japanese Big Leagues.
Although Team Australia went down to Cuba in the quarter final, in what was certainly a nail-biting game, it is a great day to be a baseballer in Australia. We are extremely proud of the Team that represented our Nation, but also the several players who have come from NSW pathways and represented Baseball NSW or the Sydney Bluesox at a point in their career. We can’t wait to see what happens next for our great sport, off the back of what has been a successful World Baseball Classic.
A notable mention to Baseball NSW State Development Officer Coen Wynne, who also received a late call up to play for Team Australia. The change came as he replaced Tim Atherton (personal reasons) on the roster. Coen joined the team in Japan off the back of the huge win against Korea and was immediately immersed in the exhilarating atmosphere of the Tokyo Dome. Following his inning pitched against China, Coen received a feature on the MLB.com site, stunning everyone on one of the biggest baseball stages in the world. Congratulations once again Coen and we’re really glad we get to work alongside you.