SBD/March 12, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Cactus League Attendance Down About 35% As Weather, WBC Disrupts Schedule

Cactus League attendance has been hurt by World Baseball Classic games
Snow, rained-out games and "even international baseball have disrupted the easy rhythms of spring training in Arizona," according to Peter Corbett of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. The Cactus League, which began "eight days earlier than last year, is off to a slow start." Total attendance is "down more than a third from last year as spring training hits its midseason this week." Giants VP Sara Hunt said, "The early start does affect the gate. It’s hard for our season-ticket holders to tack on an extra two weeks." An average of 5,401 fans per game "have turned out for the first 17 days of spring ball through Sunday." Turnout at the games is "down by about" 35%. Another "distraction" has been the World Baseball Classic. D'Backs President & CEO Derrick Hall said that the WBC has "stirred up some excitement and drawn more than 115,000 fans" to the int'l games at Chase Field and Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. He said, "It is some competition for our spring-training venues" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 3/12).

HOUSE HUNTERS: The GLOBE & MAIL's Tom Maloney notes the Blue Jays, with their situation in Dunedin, Fla., "no longer up to par," will use the next 12 months to "shop for a new spring training home, and may consider sharing a facility with" the Nationals or Astros. The Blue Jays’ lease on Florida Auto Exchange Stadium "expires in 2017, the Astros’ on Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee in 2016, and the Nationals’ on Space Coast Stadium in Viera in 2017." The Mets also are "looking for a partner in Port St. Lucie." It would be a "two-year process for approvals and construction if the Jays decide to move into a new location." Geography will be "an important criterion, as major-league clubs prefer to minimize the time required to travel for Grapefruit League games" (GLOBE & MAIL, 3/12).
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