Yesterday you could read a blog post about the questionable future of the World Baseball Classic. According to ESPN reporter, Chrsitian Moreno, several insiders have stated that the 2017 edition may be the last if the tournament will not make enough money.
According to one of the Tweets of Moreno, the organization isn’t advertising the tournament well enough and that the marketing is falling behind. Assuming that the news is true, you can wonder if there is a way to safe the World Baseball Classic.
To safe costs it would be a good idea to organize the whole tournament on US soil in states with a friendly climate in the month of March, f.e. (Southern) California, Florida and Arizona. Instead of the sixteen teams that will participate in 2017, the number of participants should be scaled down, to make it possible to play the whole tournament in two weeks.
Another solution may be to play the tournament in smaller stadiums. The stadiums that are used are looking rather empty when the home team isn’t playing. Why doesn’t the organization use AAA ballparks like the ones in El Paso or Albuquerque. Another optoin will be one or two of the spring training stadiums in Arizona or Florida. Those facilities (AAA stadiums and spring training stadiums) normally have a capacity of around 10,000. This should be big enough to host WBC crowds in the first two rounds. The question is if you need to use MLB parks for the semi finals and final as well. Perhaps a capacity of 10,000 is enough. The cost of using smaller ballparks will not be as high as those of MLB parks. There is another advantage. The smaller ballparks will look much more crowded, which may be more inspiring for the players.
What will help the tournament for sure is a top three finish by team USA. If the tournament will be played in the aforementioned AAA or spring training stadiums, the team may draw a sell out crowd. But of course a top three finish of team USA is not something you cannot force.
The game of baseball deserves a big stage like the World Baseball Classic and therefore it is necessary that MLB will continue with organizing it. Of course the WBSC will jump in with their Premier 12 tournament as the official World Championship, but with the WBC baseball will have a World Championship tournament at the highest stage with the MLB players, something the Premier 12 is lacking.