Call us baseball purists, but we’ve been a little harsh on the World Baseball Classic. But since we’re also open to experimentation, we were all set to commend Major League Baseball this morning for at least trying it, ESPN for televising it, all while hoping 2009’s Classic will live up to its name.
Then we opened the Wall Street Journal:
In the end, baseball had an answer for all the haters: total attendance of nearly 740,000 and solid TV ratings in the U.S. and abroad. Baseball executives said the event is expected to turn a profit of $10 million to $15 million.
Now we get it.
ESPN, which paid about $5 million for the rights to broadcast the Classic, is looking forward to more lead time:
Len Deluca, ESPN’s senior vice president for programming and acquisitions, said the network could devote more attention to the event next time around. “We did this on three months’ notice; we did it with no chance to sell it; we did it with barely a chance to schedule it,” he said.