Attendance up at spring training games

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- As the books close on spring training 2012, Cactus League officials are celebrating what could be a record season of attendance.

The first three weeks of the season brought nearly 200,000 more fans than the same time frame last year, said Cactus League Association president Brad Curtis.

Curtis said the Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks are among the teams seeing noticeable spikes in ticket sales.

The increase in fans attending games is translating to increased revenue at Valley restaurants and stores.

At Loco Patron, a bar and restaurant in Old Town Scottsdale blocks from where the San Francisco Giants play, owner Ryan Vertuca said sales are up an estimated 15 percent from this time last year.

"We couldn't be happier," Vertuca said.

Next door at Flag World and Sports, owner Zeke Ismail said he's had his best month of sales in years.

"It's been unbelievable from the start of spring training to now. I'm almost out of all my T-shirts," he  said.

Spring training had an economic impact of more than $350 million in Arizona last year according to the Phoenix Regional Sports Commission. Curtis expects that amount will be higher this year.