World Baseball Classic

The World Baseball Classic has been a unique experiment endorsed and supported by Major League Baseball, but the 2017 edition of the WBC may be the final edition of the international baseball tournament unless it finds a way to generate some revenue.

Cristian Moreno of ESPN reports, via Twitter, the World Baseball Classic will have to drive some “legit $$$ earnings” in order to support any future tournaments.

The WBC is nice, but has tended to struggle to carry much interest in the United States. Even though Major League Baseball players compete in the tournament, baseball is a sport in the United States that is generally not as well-received on the international stage as it is in other sports, like basketball or hockey.

It does not help that the USA team has finished as high as fourth place just once (2009) and some of the best players opt out of the tournament altogether to continue focusing on Spring Training or to avoid risking getting hurt.

There are still stars on the team, but the overwhelming national pride in being on Team USA for the WBC lags in the country behind the pride shown in countries like Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, and Japan. However, the importance of the WBC may be diminishing in those nations as well.

That’s a shame too, because the international pride is what drives the WBC at its core, but it is also played in March. We’re not exactly ready to invest much time in an international baseball tournament in March when we are focused on things like the NCAA Basketball Tournament and the NFL Draft or something.

What is it going to take to make this the most lucrative WBC yet? It starts with finding a way to engage baseball fans in new ways, a dilemma that MLB faces as well.

So, uh, good luck World Baseball Classic. I do love you, and I will miss you. I’m just not sure there are enough others who feel the same way.

About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Previously contributed to Host of the Locked On Nittany Lions Podcast. FWAA member and Philadelphia-area resident.

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