Cactus League enjoys record-setting attendance in 2013

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By Natalie Rivers By Natalie Rivers

PHOENIX -- Fans turned out in record-setting numbers for spring training baseball in 2013.

The Cactus League announced on Thursday that more than 1.7 million fans attended games this season, which is an increase of about 20,000 from 2012.

“Attendance continues to grow year after year as baseball fans around the country realize the convenience of being able to watch 15 Major League baseball teams training in a single metropolitan area,” said Mark Coronado, President of the Cactus League Association.

Highlighting 2013’s impressive attendance numbers was the March 23 contest between the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers at Camelback Ranch.

The game drew 13,721 fans, which is a new single game record for the Cactus League.

Goodyear Ballpark also set an attendance record this season when 11,023 fans showed up on March 16 to watch the San Francisco Giants play the Cleveland Indians.

Cactus League officials are optimistic that 2014 can have even better attendance numbers, particularly because the Chicago Cubs will be opening a new stadium near the Loop 101 and Loop 202 freeways in Mesa.

“Fans get excited about new ballparks no matter who is playing there,” said Coronado. “The league is still benefiting from the bounce we experienced in 2011 when the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies opened their new ballpark at Salt River Fields.”