As I get back into the usual swing of school, jobs, and internships it was tough to leave Phoenix, AZ to head back to Buffalo. I was in Phoenix for five days to soak in the sun, play 36 holes of golf, and watch my Colorado Rockies. They say that Christmas is the most wonderful time of year, but March 2nd through March 31st has to be close second. Spring Training, especially the Cactus league, is an amazing time that every baseball fan needs to enjoy once in their life. While I was down there I saw a lot of great players and games, but what struck me the most was the new ballparks and facilities. The Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks opened a new and amazing facility in 2011, at Salt River Field at Talking Stick, in Scottsdale. The Dodgers and White Sox’s opened a facility, very similar to the Salt River Field in 2009, in Glendale. With all the new stadiums and facilities, I wondered what the economic impact of Spring Training has on the economy of Phoenix metro? Although the current 2012 numbers will be available around June, the 2011 numbers are impressive.
2011 saw new records broken for fan attendance. 1.59 million people ventured to the Phoenix Valley to see a total of 15 teams, and 267 games. The Cactus League has seen six new teams relocate to Phoenix from Tucson and Florida over the past five years. The Cactus League Association estimates that $360 million dollars is the economic impact to the Phoenix Valley. To give perspective, the 2008 Super Bowl held in Glendale was estimated to have generated $500 million worth economic impact. Then you have the new facilities being built for new teams coming in and being used as possible negotiating tools for other teams in the future. Salt River Field at Talking Sticks cost $100 million dollars to build and has set the bar for all future stadiums in this region. The stadium houses both teams, offices, and workout facilities. The Rockies occupy the first base side, while the Diamondbacks are housed on the third base side. Each team has six full size practice fields (one has the exact dimensions of their home field), two infield only fields, and 25 batting cages. Although the entire trip was great and relaxing, I do wish the beer and peanuts were cheaper or should have been covered in the $100 million dollar price tag!
Until next time,