Dec. 8, 2008 (MESA, Ariz.) - The anticipated 2009 spring training season could be one for the record books. Never before has Arizona's spring training season crossed into three months, consisted of 14 teams and involved the hosting of the World Baseball Classic. The additions of the Los Angeles Dodgers in Glendale and the Cleveland Indians in Goodyear give a boost to next season with 245 games planned over a five-week season that starts in February and extends into April. Typical seasons are four weeks and 172 games. All told, the Cactus League will consist of fourteen teams playing in nine cities, in 11 stadiums throughout the state. A complete schedule of games is now available at www.CactusLeague.com.
"This could be the one,” said Robert Brinton, president of the Cactus League. “Spring Training could be the economic stimulus package we"ve been waiting for when it comes to potential visitors to our state. We know Dodgers fans have a much shorter haul opening up a window for extended stays, and Indians fans will also come to escape the cold.”
Year over year, the Cactus League sets attendance records with the latest record of more than 1.3 million fans from the 2008 season. According to the Cactus League, more than half (57 percent) of those attending a spring training game in Arizona come from out-of-state to cheer on their hometown teams. Former Cactus League President J.P. de la Montaigne initiated the economic development survey in 2007 which found that out-of-state baseball game attendees spent approximately $170 million in the state of Arizona with the league’s total impact growing to an estimated $311 million.
“There’s nothing like selling sunshine and baseball when the rest of the country is under a layer of snow,” said Jeff Meyer, representative for the Scottsdale Charros, the booster club for San Francisco Giants spring training. “We know travel is a luxury item and disposable income may be shrinking, but baseball fans are continually loyal so we’re hopeful that despite the economic times visitors will still plan their springtime respites to cheer on their teams.”
This week, Brinton, de la Montaigne and colleagues will be participating in the winter baseball meetings held Dec. 8 – 12 in Las Vegas. Both the Cactus League and Florida’s Grapefruit League convene to address important issues regarding stadium trends and development, among other items with regard to spring training operations.
“It’s a very exciting time for the league,” said Brad Curtis, representative for Tempe Diablos. “It’s clear why baseball fans flock to Arizona each year, we offer a very enticing package. It’s our hope the league continues on a growth pattern. As we increase the teams, we increase the fan base and in turn we will continue to see the benefits of spring training throughout the state.”
Availability of spring training schedules vary by team, with some teams currently selling tickets for the 2009 season. Each stadium handles sales independently. Visit www.CactusLeague.com for stadium contact information and a complete list of games planned in 2009. Note: All games and line-ups are subject to change.
About the Cactus League:
The Cactus League Association was established in 1989 by representatives of the participating booster organizations and cities that sponsor spring training in Arizona. The Cactus League Association's primary goal is to facilitate, encourage and participate in activities designed to promote the Cactus League. The membership of host cities and community service organizations serve in this capacity on a year-round basis. For more go to www.CactusLeague.com.
Robert Brinton, President