Cactus League Strong Despite Shorter Schedule, Diamondbacks, Dodgers Absence

March 31, 2014
Cactus League Baseball Association
Mark Coronado

More than 1.686 million fans attended Cactus League games during the 68th season of spring training baseball in Arizona with daily turnout far outpacing last year’s attendance mark after 32 game days.

The overall total was lower than last year’s 1.73 million fans because of fewer game days this year (32 in 2014 versus 37 in 2013) and the loss of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers to a regular season series in Australia. Still after 32 days this year, attendance was 121,000 higher than the same period last year.

“International fans are a key component to Major League Baseball's marketing and fan development strategy. The Cactus League supports such a global international strategy as the bounce will certainly compliment the Cactus League for years to come,” according to Cactus League Baseball Association President Mark Coronado.

The Diamondbacks missed nine days of Cactus League play, while the Dodgers missed 13 days, playing their last game on Sunday, March 16.

Even so, Coronado said many ballpark operators reported very strong seasons proving that the word is getting out about the Arizona spring training experience. “If you are a baseball fan, you can see two games a day in the metropolitan Phoenix area, spend less time driving from ballpark to ballpark, and keep your same hotel room during the entire visit,” he said. Annually, the Cactus League generates more than $632 million in economic impact for the state.

“Baseball fans across the nation clearly are choosing the convenience of Arizona for their spring training vacation experience,” Coronado added.

Coronado also credited the opening of Cubs Park for setting a string of single game attendance records. The new ballpark claimed the first 12 spots on the Cactus League’s list of the top 20 single-game records drawing more than 14,000 fans each time. The Cubs also set the single season attendance record drawing 214,815 fans in 15 contests.

“Cubs fans are fired up about the new ballpark,” Coronado said.

Next year, the Oakland A’s will move into their new ballpark, a renovated Hohokam Stadium, creating yet another reason for fans to travel to Arizona for a convenient and exciting baseball vacation, he said.