SBD/March 7, 2012/Research and Ratings

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  • Grapefruit, Cactus League Teams Getting Big Money From States For New, Upgraded Venues

    The state of Florida since ’01 has awarded $108.4M in grants to city/county governments designed to go toward new Spring Training facilities or major upgrades to existing ones, according to data collected by SportsBusiness Daily/Journal. Facilities for the Blue Jays, Dodgers, Rays, Pirates and Orioles each received $15M in funds during that period, tops among all clubs. Grants were even larger for teams in the Cactus League. The state of Arizona allocated $183.3M during the same period to 11 teams. The Dodgers' and White Sox’ Camelback Ranch in Glendale received $60M, tops among all clubs, followed by $55M for Goodyear Ballpark, which is shared by the Indians and Reds (THE DAILY).

    STATE FUNDS PLEDGED TO GRAPEFRUIT LEAGUE
    FACILITIES SINCE '01
    RECIPIENT TEAM VENUE
    TOTAL
    City of Dunedin Blue Jays Florida Auto Exchange Stadium
    $15.0M
    Indian River County Dodgers* Holman Stadium
    $15.0M
    Charlotte County Rays Charlotte Sports Park
    $15.0M
    City of Bradenton Pirates McKechnie Field
    $15.0M
    City of Sarasota Orioles Ed Smith Stadium
    $15.0M
    City of Clearwater Phillies Bright House Field
    $11.0M
    St. Lucie County Mets Digital Domain Park
    $7.91M
    Osceola County Astros Osceola County Stadium
    $7.5M
    City of Lakeland Tigers Joker Marchant Stadium
    $7.0M
         
    STATE FUNDS PLEDGED TO CACTUS LEAGUE
    FACILITIES SINCE '01
    RECIPIENT TEAM VENUE
    TOTAL
    Glendale Dodgers, White Sox Camelback Ranch
    $60.0M
    Goodyear Indians, Reds Goodyear Ballpark
    $55.0M
    Peoria Padres, Mariners** Peoria Sports Complex
    $48.0M
    City of Surprise Rangers, Royals Surprise Stadium
    $32.0M
    Scottsdale Giants Scottsdale Stadium
    $20.0M
    Tempe Angels Tempe Diablo Stadium
    $12.0M
    Phoenix A's Phoenix Municipal Stadium
    $4.3M
         

    NOTES: * = Although Indian River County (Fla.) received $15.0M in incentives in '01 to keep the Dodgers at Holman Stadium, the team relocated Spring Training operations to the Cactus League and the new Camelback Ranch facility in '09. ** = The city of Peoria will fund the majority of a $48M upgrade to the facility, and will be repaid a to-be-determined amount from a state fund, but payments won't begin for at least eight years.


    NATIONAL DEBATE: In Florida, Kendall & Reed note Lee County commissioners on Mar. 20 “will decide whether to move forward and negotiate with the Washington Nationals -- bringing to a head two years of flirtation" between the team and county to make City of Palms Park in Ft. Myers their new Spring Training home. The commissioners will be asked “to approve a 90-day discussion period that will end in a report detailing whether it is feasible to move the Nationals into City of Palms.” Assistant County Manager Doug Meurer said, “It still must be established what kinds of improvements the Nationals would want for the park, and what the county could concede to.” The Nationals currently hold Spring Training in Brevard County, but the club is looking “to move into a location with more nearby opponents.” The team’s current contract “expires after the 2017 season” (Ft. Myers NEWS-PRESS, 3/7).

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