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posted Apr 18, 2014, 6:27 PM by Jairy Otero

The sport of baseball approached 150 million in global ticket sales in 2013,
with the U.S. and Japan's domestic leagues by far topping the list as the most attended sports leagues across all sports and professional leagues in the world, according to data compiled by the World Baseball Softball Confederation.

Major League Baseball (MLB) repeats as the most attended sports league in the world, reporting a 2013 regular season total of attendance of 74,026,895 (sixth highest total in its history). Minor League Baseball (MiLB) announced that its clubs attracted 41,553,781 fans in 2013, bringing in almost 275,000 more spectators to the stadiums than it did in 2012, which puts the MiLB collection of teams as the second most attended sports league in the world. The Mexican Baseball League is a member of MiLB and its 3,812,376 fans in 2013 are included in MiLB's total attendance numbers. The third most attended sports league in the world, Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) saw attendance in 2013 grow 3.17% to 22,047,491, which was approximately 500,000 more than the highest non-baseball league/fourth most attended professional sport league in the world.

After four consecutive years of record attendance growth in the Korea Baseball Organization

KBO) -- which was jump-started by Team Korea's gold medal performance at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games -- KBO saw a slight dip in 2013 to 6,743,940, after having brought in more than seven million spectators to the stadiums for the first time in 2012. In 2015, KBO will undergo expansion from nine teams to ten teams, and Korea's first roofed/domed stadium in Seoul, which is fitted for baseball, will be completed -- two factors that can re-set the positive record growth trend for KBO.

The Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) experienced a massive increase in ticket sales in 2013 to 1,459,072, with average match attendance increasing 149.86% from 2012. The tremendous growth and increased fan interest in the CPBL was partly boosted by the success of Chinese Taipei's National Baseball Team in 2013 internationally sanctioned competitions. Chinese Taipei is currently ranked fourth in the World Baseball Rankings -- which is its highest ever ranking.

Also in 2013, the World Baseball Classic set TV viewership records and was one of the most attended (if not the most attended) international sports events in 2013. The 2013 World Baseball Classic attracted 885,212 fans to stadiums, surpassing the 2009 World Baseball Classic total of 801,410 by more than 10%

WBSC co-President Riccardo Fraccari applauded the professional baseball leagues for attracting nearly 150
million fans in 2013 and helping to deepen and expand baseball's global footprint."These figures demonstrate that 'live' in-
stadium baseball games remain as relevant and attractive to audiences today as ever, despite -- or rather -- in addition to the growing trend of accessing baseball content through digital/mobile devices and 'second screens', which are enhancing the fan-viewing experience and not acting as a substitute. The fan-experience at the stadium -- hearing the sounds of the bat hitting the ball or hoping to catch a foul ball or home run -- is a unique and special experience that nearly 150 million spectators shared in 2013," Fraccari stated, with WBSC co-President Don Porter adding, "Behind these numbers are passionate, motivated fans of all ages, backgrounds and cultures."