Turns out, baseball isn’t just America’s most beloved past times – it’s also one of the most lucrative.
A new study released Thursday shows the Cactus League brings $800 million annually into Arizona’s economy, including $544 million from tourists.
In fact, more than half of fans at this year’s Spring Training games were from out of town, according to the study. And attendance was up by almost 10 percent since 2012.
“We all know that more visitors, means more spending,” Governor Doug Ducey said at a press conference Thursday.
Ducey said two-thirds of out-of-town visitors said that Spring Training was the primary reason they came to Arizona. And median spending among out-of-town fans jumped 31 percent since 2012, the last time a study like this was done.
More of those visitors stayed in hotels and for longer periods of time, according to the Governor.
“The popularity has only continued to sky rocket and, with it, the economic impact that it brings,” Ducey said.
The Cactus League consists of fifteen baseball teams and ten spring training facilities throughout the Valley.
“It’s a draw for fans, it’s a draw for our players,” said Diamondbacks CEO and President, Derrick Hall. “It’s a recruiting tool, because they want to live here. Those players who live out of state, their families want to rent here.”
Ducey said the money doesn’t stop coming when the Cactus League ends.
Off-season the Valley’s ten spring training facilities brought in another $265 million dollars to the state’s economy, from hosting events, concerts and games.