The Cincinnati Red's have inked out a deal to start spring training in Goodyear, AZ. joining the Cleveland Indians in Cactus League play.
This is exciting for our area. Spring league baseball brings many pluses to Greater Phoenix including economic growth, future residents, and just plain fun.
Cactus League baseball has become an important part of our heritage and brand. It all began in 1951 when Yankee co-owner Del Webb orchestrated a deal to have his team play in his backyard while overseeing his growing real estate empire. The Chicago Cubs came to town and played two games against the Yankees. While here, the Cubs struck a deal with Dwight Patterson, a Mesa rancher, to play their spring ball in Mesa.
Today, we get to enjoy baseball with many teams including the Angels, Cubs, D-Backs, Rockies, Royals, Brewers, Padres, Giants, Mariners, Rangers and Indians. Much of this success is due to former governor Rose Mofford who took a stand against rival Florida by helping pass legislation key to Cactus League growth.
Our region is greatly benefited by Cactus League play. In 2007 an estimated 1.31 million fans enjoyed the festivities and spent a whopping $300 million. When we consider the revenues from hotel bed taxes, airport fees, gas taxes, general spending and fees paid by the teams, we are talking real money.
In addition, our State is seen by fans across American who are attracted by the great weather and the general fun of baseball. Not a bad image to put out there, especially when times are tough.
Thanks to all who have and do make Cactus League Baseball a reality in our towns.
The Urban Team