MLB Opening Day is just around the corner, spring training is underway, and players from around the world are preparing for the World Baseball Classic (WBC), but nobody seems to be paying attention. Similar to the FIFA World Cup, the WBC takes place every four years, but why doesn’t it garner the same interest as its soccer counterpart?
Taking some recommendations from our previous blog, let’s look at how the WBC could get the attention it deserves.
It’s all about the players
What makes baseball great are the matchups between the elite pitchers and the world’s best hitters. Give people a reason to tune in to watch by identifying potential match-ups between pitchers and hitters and build hype around that. Many players are from other leagues besides the MLB, so there are potentially great matchups that have never happened and may never happen again.
Let social media do the talking
On Twitter, MLB has over six million followers, while the WBC only has around 121,000. The WBC should be using social media to draw followers from the MLB by posting engaging highlights, fun behind-the-scenes content and exclusive interviews with players to drive more interest. It should also should be leveraging MLB teams and players’ social accounts to support the participants and the WBC through retweets and shares while growing organically by posting content you can’t get anywhere else.
Make the WBC feel like the World Cup
Like the Olympics, the World Cup also has an opening ceremony. Athletes dream of the opportunity to represent their country and the WBC should be doing the same. Prior to the first round, the four host countries should hold opening ceremonies for the participating teams.
Following the World Cup’s lead in displaying country colors, the WBC should allow teams to design their own uniforms. For the first time, USA will be using a gray jersey for away games this year. Permitting some creative flexibility will differentiate teams from one another while leading to increased brand recognition and potentially merchandise sales for the WBC and its teams.
The World Baseball Classic has the potential to be a great international event with a strong brand, but right now, it just doesn’t have the hype of other once-every-four-year sports like the Olympics or the World Cup. Maybe implementing a few of these recommendations will help the WBC reach its full potential.