It has been approximately one year since Spring Training and the entire sports world as a whole shut down.
People lost jobs.
Teams and leagues lost revenue.
Sponsorships were hard to come by.
Yet, a year later, Spring Training is back in the Valley. There may be limited fans allowed in venues like Glendale’s Camelback Ranch, Goodyear Ballpark and Peoria Sports Complex, but their respective cities are thankful for any return of live sports.
Spring Training is typically known to bring fans from all over the country to Arizona for warm weather and the early fix of baseball.
However, due to the pandemic’s ongoing presence, many fans are not traveling, which has a snowball effect on ticket sales, restaurants and hotels.
Still, Cactus League and city officials are optimistic.
“There is certainly some good economic impact for the city of Goodyear and, quite frankly, the whole region of the West Valley,” said Lori Gary, Goodyear’s economic development director.
The city of Goodyear owns Goodyear Ballpark, where the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds play their Spring Training games.
According to Gary, Goodyear Ballpark sold out its first game of the Spring Training season on Feb. 28.
Jay Crandall, Glendale’s public information officer, is optimistic as well. Camelback Ranch hosts the World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago White Sox.
“We are looking forward to the future and the opportunity to once again host a full stadium filled with people from all over the world who come to stay, shop, dine and experience our local Glendale businesses as part of Spring Training,” he said.
Cactus League Executive Director Bridget Binsbacher said she’s unsure of the economic impact for the 2021 Spring Training season. However, many of the Cactus League games are sold out, leaving fans to scramble for the few tickets on third-party sites.
“We realize that many Spring Training experiences, like autographs and close-up interactions with players, are not possible this year,” Binsbacher said.
“But we’re excited to be able to host a limited number of fans. We are hopeful that local businesses will see some benefits this spring, either from visiting fans or from team personnel who spend the entire spring season here.”
According to an ASU study, in 2018, the Cactus League generated $644 million in economic impact and $373 million in gross domestic product for Arizona. Binsbacher said the 2020 Spring Training season was on pace to match those numbers.
Like many venues, Camelback Ranch, Peoria Sports Complex and Goodyear Ballpark are selling tickets for 16% to 20% of the venue’s capacity.
Ticketholders can expect mandatory masks, contactless transactions, social distancing throughout the stadium, and enhanced cleaning and disinfecting guidelines.