It's prime time in Arizona!
We had all the big the car shows, the horse shows, the art shows… and now it’s time to ‘Take me out to the ballgame’ for spring training!
Soon players and fans will invade the Valley for the 2019 season and of course, the excitement is building.
We caught up with Cactus League President Jeff Meyer at Scottsdale Stadium for a preview.
“We’ve got pitchers and catchers reporting on Tuesday, so that’s very exciting news,” he said.
The Cactus League season will be early and short this year running from February 21st through March 26th.
If you live here in the Valley, this means a lot of tickets are available the first week, the new normal for spring training, due to changed MLB work rules.
“It’s a great opportunity to get local fans out here to the stadium and enjoy the day with the family,” said Meyer.
The Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners will break camp after their March 13th games to play in Japan.
Seattle has a pair of games in Peoria after that with prospects and MLB players who didn’t make the trip.
What else can fans look forward to this year?
“On the 12th, we’re going to have the ribbon cutting ceremony out in Maryvale for the Brewers… a great partnership with the city of Phoenix, the Brewers and Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority,” he said.
“March 25th and 26th… defending world champions Boston Red Sox are coming to town to have a 2-game series with the Cubs,” said Meyer. “Both those games will be sold out.”
The Red Sox played in Scottsdale stadium from 1959 to 1965, so it’ll be the first time they’ve been back in the Valley for Spring Training since then.
The Cactus League was founded in 1947, with the New York Giants training in Phoenix and the Cleveland Indians in Tucson. Today the Cactus League has 15 MLB clubs in 10 ballparks across Maricopa County, providing plenty of places for you take in a great baseball game and the beautiful temperatures we get to brag about this time of year.
Spring training means big business here in the Valley. Cactus League games don’t count, but the money they generate for Arizona’s economy does. The 2018 Cactus League season generated an economic impact of more than $644 million. That’s an 11% increase on the 2015 output estimate in real terms, according to an ASU W.P. Carey School of Business study that surveyed only out-of-state visitors.
It found the Cactus League generated $373 million for Arizona’s Gross Domestic Product. The study also found the median spring training visitor spent four days in Arizona and each party spent about $405 per day.