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MLB News: Lockout Draining Dollars from Spring Training Cities



In a normal year, or as normal as they get these days, pitchers and catchers would have descended upon Arizona and Florida this week for spring training. The current MLB labor dispute has stonewalled any chance of the that happening.

MLB players on any club’s 40-man roster are locked out of any and all spring training complexes. That being said, minor league players can still use their club’s facilities.

Cactus League execute director Bridget Binsbacher is highly concerned of the economic impact on the cities that host MLB spring training in Arizona. Binsbacher explained in an interview with the LA Times Bill Shaikin.

“People are definitely concerned. It will have an impact…we don’t think, even if they get started in two or three weeks, that we’re going to see many fans in the seats other than people who live here locally.”

Per a study by Arizona State University, six out of ten fans who attend Cactus League spring training games come from out-of-state.

Binsbacher has additional data to back up that a shortened spring training will have a significant economic impact. A 2020 study found that on average, Dodgers fans spend $439 per day at spring training.

According to the research, the economic impact of spring training was $644M in 2018. That number fell to $364M in 2020 due to…wait for it…COVID-19.

Simply put, cities that have invested their dollars into building and maintaining MLB complexes have been unable to realize the full economic benefit in now two of the last three years.

Last week, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred stated that spring training could open just days after a new CBA is completed. He also said that players need roughly 28 days to be ready for regular season play.

Binsbacher and other Arizona city officials are weary of another curtailed spring choking away valuable tourism dollars for host cities.

It’s yet another reason why MLB and the MLBPA need to complete a new CBA.

Not soon, NOW.

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2 Comments

  1. Congress gives MLB an antitrust exemption, it should also give them binding arbitration, since the owners and players forget who butters their bread, the fans. Or how about a panel of fans listens to both sides and then makes the decision.