Spring training’s loss is WBC’s gain as viewership jumps

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Many of Major League Baseball’s biggest stars like Mike Trout, Mookie Betts and Shohei Ohtani aren’t playing in spring training these days. They’re in the World Baseball Classic. And people are watching. The fifth WBC tournament drew just over 1 million fans in the first round, up from about 500,000 in 2017. That’s partly because there are more games since the tournament was expanded to 20 teams from 16. But the average attendance of 25,275 was also considerably higher than the 20,402 average in 2017.