Spring training pumped more than $750 million into Florida’s economy this year – or an average of $47 million per team that spends the spring here – according to a study released by the Florida Sports Foundation.
The study by the Bonn Marketing Research Group of Tallahassee says Florida realized $752.3 million in economic impact from the annual spring influx of Major League Baseball teams. That’s up from the $453 million that was estimated in a 2000 study. This spring, 16 teams trained in 15 venues across the state.
Spring training drew 1.56 million fans – or an average of more than 6,000 fans per game. The study estimated that out-of-state attendees represented 48 percent of the total. Those who came to Florida specifically for spring training spent a total of $571.7 million, the study says.
“Major League Baseball has a following that transcends economic downturns,” Dr. Mark Bonn, president of Bonn Marketing Research Group, said in a statement released by the Florida Sports Foundation. “People make their decisions to travel almost a year out and many of the respondents were repeat attendees at Spring Training Games. Economic conditions have little effect upon their decision to come to Florida for spring training. It’s more about loyalty than economics.”
The new study nearly doubles the estimates of spring training economic impact by tourism officials, who typically say the community realizes about $25 million annually. With the Baltimore Orioles moving from Fort Lauderdale to Sarasota next spring, the community will miss out on those extra dollars.