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Volume 24 No. 154

Research and Ratings

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).

City of Dunedin Blue Jays Florida Auto Exchange Stadium
Indian River County Dodgers* Holman Stadium
Charlotte County Rays Charlotte Sports Park
City of Bradenton Pirates McKechnie Field
City of Sarasota Orioles Ed Smith Stadium
City of Clearwater Phillies Bright House Field
St. Lucie County Mets Digital Domain Park
Osceola County Astros Osceola County Stadium
City of Lakeland Tigers Joker Marchant Stadium
Glendale Dodgers, White Sox Camelback Ranch
Goodyear Indians, Reds Goodyear Ballpark
Peoria Padres, Mariners** Peoria Sports Complex
City of Surprise Rangers, Royals Surprise Stadium
Scottsdale Giants Scottsdale Stadium
Tempe Angels Tempe Diablo Stadium
Phoenix A's Phoenix Municipal Stadium

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).