Japan as Host for World Baseball Classic (WBC) Games in 2009
by Phil Lowry
Japan, as the reigning champion of the World Baseball Classic (WBC), would
seem to deserve a very fair and full hearing from the WBC's organizers, MLB and
the MLBPA, on Japan's capability to host the Semi-Final Round and the Final
Game in 2009.
However, there is no getting around certain facts: Japanese baseball fans
failed the test of attending WBC games not involving Japan in 2006. Observe
these drastic differences:
Average Attendance Petco Park for three Semi-Final Round & Final WBC games
NOT involving USA: 42,201
Average Attendance in Angel Stadium for three 2nd Round WBC games NOT
involving USA: 33,083
Average Attendance in Angel Stadium for three 2nd Round WBC games involving
Average Attendance in Tokyo Dome for three WBC First Round games involving
Average Attendance in Tokyo Dome for three WBC First Round games NOT
involving Japan: 4565
Tokyo admittedly was hosting 1st Round games, whereas Anaheim was hosting
2nd Round games, and San Diego was hosting the Semi-Final Round and the Final
But Tokyo attendance was more than six times higher when Japan was playing
vs. when Japan was not playing. San Diego attendance, with the USA not playing,
was 45 % higher than Tokyo attendance with Japan playing. Anaheim
attendance, where whether the USA was playing or not did not make much difference, was
10 % higher than Tokyo attendance with Japan playing, and seven times higher
than Tokyo attendance with Japan not playing.
So Japan definitely has a problem in attempting to secure the WBC Semi-Final
Round and Final Game. However, in my opinion, there are two things that
Japan can and should do immediately to successfully convince MLB and the MLBPA
that the Semi-Final Round and Final Game can and should be played in Japan.
First, intensive ticket-selling in advance with Japanese corporations and
unions could sell out each game, right now, a full 14 months in advance. Second,
Japan should abandon its forlorn love affair with the sterile antiseptic
ugly Tokyo Dome.
Japan should offer to hold the Semi-Final Round in Tokyo's beautiful ancient
Meiji Jingu Stadium, a REAL baseball park with grass and no dome, and the
Final Game in Japan's most majestic cathedral to the sport, Nishinomiya's
Koshien Stadium, home to the most passionate baseball that has ever been played
anywhere on the planet, Japan's annual high school championship tournament.