Taiwan Cheerleaders Steal Spotlight at WBC

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Cheerleaders perform at Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taiwan on March 8.

TAICHUNG, Taiwan — The Classic Girls cheerleading team attracted as much attention as the players in World Baseball Classic Pool A of the first round at Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taiwan.

The team comprises 21 cheerleaders selected from all professional baseball teams in Taiwan.

Unlike in Japan, where cheerleaders usually perform by outfield seats, Taiwan cheer teams entertain fans from stages on infield stands, where they are readily available for photos.

Some of the cheerleaders have more than 1.5 million Instagram followers, and their proximity to fans is thought to be part of their appeal.

The average number of spectators at professional baseball games in Taiwan fell to about 2,650 in the 2000s due to match-fixing and other issues, but attendance figures have risen to about 5,100 in the past 10 years, according to Taiwan media.

“The success of the girls is contributing to the recovery of baseball’s popularity,” a Taiwan journalist said.

All 80,000 tickets sold out for Taiwan’s four WBC group-stage games.

A spectator in his 20s at Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium said, “I came here to enjoy both the game and the girls’ performances.”