Batter-up! Spring training is on deck

Spring training baseball is upon us, with the Cactus League’s first game scheduled for today. The next couple months will be filled with excitement and joy for not only baseball fans, but also the local economy.

In previous years, the Cactus League has drawn in many fans from both in- and out-of-state. In fact, an Arizona State University study reports that the Cactus League attracted nearly 1.75 million fans in 2018. Of those, roughly 60 percent visited from other states.

In 2019, the Cactus League plans to bring in even more baseball fanatics. Headlining the many new features of the 2019 Cactus League is a completely renovated ballpark for the Milwaukee Brewers. The newly named American Family Fields of Phoenix on 51st Avenue and Indian School is equipped with $60 million worth of renovations that provides a more comfortable and accommodating experience for both Brewers and baseball fans.

Cactus League president Jeff Meyer describes the renovations as “a great collaboration between the city of Phoenix and the Brewers that the fans get to enjoy.”

To kick off the 2019 season, the Arizona Spring Training Experience hosted its annual Cactus League luncheon last Tuesday, which featured appearances from Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred and Governor Doug Ducey. In addition, the luncheon held the induction of the 2019 Cactus League Hall of Fame, which included Ken Griffey Jr., Bobby Freeman, and Robin Yount, among others.

Through spring training games alone, the Cactus League created $373 million for Arizona’s GDP last year. Plus, job creation and indirect sales contributed to a whopping $644.2 million economic impact.

A significant portion of this revenue was generated from the tourism that baseball brings to the state. Out of state visitors spent a daily average of $405 on games, lodging, food and beverage, souvenirs, and more. In fact, bars, restaurants, and hotels raked in a combined $213 million in just a month of preseason baseball.

Before or after their baseball games, visitors like to explore other parts of Arizona. Cactus League president Jeff Meyer highlights the importance of this. “Tourism is key there. We’ve been fortunate to have Governor Ducey that highlights baseball as a tourism magnet,” Meyer notes. “Just to get people to the state and go on their way to do other things — we have visitors going to the Grand Canyon, Sedona, and even car auctions that are coming up. It’s great that baseball helps draw these people in and then lets them explore other parts of Arizona.”

Spring training games will run daily until the end of March. Check out the schedule and enjoy a game.

Ben Norman

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