WBC a classic for ESPN.

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The World Baseball Classic put in solid results for ESPN.

Led by record audiences for games involving Team USA, the 2009 World Baseball Classic averaged a 1.1 U.S. rating (1.3 cable) and 1.6 million viewers on ESPN, up 10% in ratings and 14% in viewership from a 1.0 U.S. rating (1.2 cable) and 1.4 million for the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006.

To put that in perspective, ESPN averaged 1.6 million viewers for regular season MLB telecasts in 2008, and 1.7 million for regular season NBA games through February’s All-Star Break.

The highest rated, most viewed game of the tournament came for Team USA’s loss to Japan in the semifinals on Sunday night. The game averaged a 1.9 U.S. rating (2.2 cable) and 2.8 million viewers, making it the highest rated and most viewed World Baseball Classic telecast in history.

The strong ratings did not carry over into the championship game between Korea and Japan on Monday night. Japan’s win drew a 1.4 cable rating and 1.7 million viewers, down 22% in ratings and 15% in viewership from a 1.8 and approximately 2 million viewers for the inaugural final between Japan and Cuba.

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