For die-hard baseball fans, the organizations, the players and the people that make their living off of live baseball, it has begun. Pitchers and catchers are reporting all over the Florida and Arizona landscapes for their yearly rite of passage. It is time America, time to head to the stadium, hum “Take me out to the ballgame” and just bask in the eternal dream of what is to come in 2013.
The Grapefruit League and Cactus League will welcome everyone to come and enjoy. They will welcome families, friends, players and dreamers to walk through their gates to experience a pure and special feeling that can only be reserved for special moments in time. The time has arrived. Go out, get some fresh air, pull the kids off the X-Box or computer and just enjoy.
Economies in Arizona and Florida will be reaping the rewards of professional players; both established veterans and young upstarts, being in their neighborhoods. The Grapefruit League which calls Florida home processed over 1.6 million fans into a total of 233 games in 2012. The numbers are even greater in the Cactus League which calls Arizona home as 1.7 million people walked through the gates with 58% of them coming from out of state.
The last study accomplished by Bonn Marketing Research Group of Tallahassee Florida in 2009 calculated a direct economic impact of the Grapefruit League to the state of Florida at over $750 million. Meanwhile, FMR Associates conducted a similar evaluation, while only calculating “out-of-state” fan revenue, in 2012 for the Cactus League in Arizona. The economic impacts totaled in excess of $420 million dollars. These revenues cannot be understated for their representative economies. Look at it this way as well; the economic windfall is generated during a less than six week period of performance. It could be referred to as an economic shot in the arm.
MLB Spring Training presents an experience that cannot be rivaled by the other major sports. The NFL has pre-season games in the same stadiums that host the regular season games. These massive stadiums do not lend to a “fan friendly” experience and the players are controlled in the same manner as the 16-game grind. While rowdy, these games just do not allow the fan to connect with their team. NBA pre-season games are in much the same situation as their NFL counterparts. Sure it is a smaller stadium but the results and access are no different than their regular season environment.
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