SAN FRANCISCO — The World Baseball Classic might come back to San Francisco when the tournament starts up again four years from now. There's even a long-shot chance of hosting championship week again, a Major League executive said.
The tournament wrapped up Tuesday night with Puerto Rico facing the Dominican Republic for the WBC championship. All three games at AT&T Park drew crowds in the 30,000 range, despite Team USA being ousted in the second round.
Tim Brosnan, Major League Baseball's executive vice president / business, was pleased.
"San Francisco is an international marketplace. Look at this place right now. Look at the diversity of cultures in the stands as I'm looking around,'' Brosnan said earlier this week as fans arrived for a Japan vs. Puerto Rico semifinal.
"San Francisco is seen as a global gateway. It's a perfect venue for a global event."
Heading into Tuesday night's finale, the WBC had already set a tournament attendance mark. The 2013 figure stood at 849,509 fans compared to 801,410 in 2009.
This year's total might have been higher had Team USA advanced beyond the second round. Instead, the Netherlands vs. Dominican Republic semifinal on Monday night drew 27,527 fans to a ballpark that holds more than 42,000.
"Look, you always want the hometown team to be playing in the hometown tournament. But it is a blip on the radar,'' said Brosnan, also the President/CEO, Major League Baseball Enterprises.
"If you go back to why we have this tournament in the first place -- which is to generate international competition and baseball interest around the globe -- it's just as important that the Netherlands is in this tournament as the U.S. It's just as important that the Italians advanced as far as they did. It's just as important that Brazil qualified for this tournament."
Though television ratings in the U.S. were low during the WBC, the event was a bonanza elsewhere. Puerto Rico's victory over Japan on Monday night captured a 48 share (percentage of viewers whose television was on), according to MLB. At its peak during the ninth inning and immediately after Puerto Rico's win, the share jumped to 74.
Tuesday night's broadcast aired in 15 different languages.
Brosnan said that chances are the WBC championship will be played elsewhere in 2017. But he left the door open for a return to the Bay Area.
"I think that it's probably in the tournament's interest to rotate the site of the finals, but ... San Francisco can't be ruled out as a finals host,'' he said.
"Everybody will be given the same chance. A lot will be dependent on bids.
We see San Francisco as a very successful participant. Who wouldn't want to come to this ballpark on this bay at this time of year?"
Follow Daniel Brown on Twitter at twitter.com/mercbrownie.