The impact of the Spring Training delay on Valley businesses

The general manager at The Saguaro Hotel says they have had a few cancellations but says most people are finding other ways to enjoy their stay.
Published: Mar. 2, 2022 at 5:31 AM MST
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SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Major League Baseball Tuesday evening announced they are canceling opening day and will lose additional regular-season games after still not coming to an agreement over a labor dispute.

Commissioner Rob Manfred Manfred said he is canceling the first two series of the season that was set to begin March 31, dropping the schedule from 162 games to likely 156 games at most. Now, it seems likely the rest of spring training won’t happen in cities across the Valley.

So what does that mean for Spring Training? It will continue to be delayed at least through March 8 and maybe even longer.

Despite the delay in Spring Training, you wouldn’t really know games aren’t happening right now. It is busy in Old Town Scottsdale and crowds are filling the streets. Some valley hotels and businesses say they think people have just been itching to get out and travel, so they aren’t noticing too much of an impact, at least yet. In 2020 COVID put a halt to games halfway through the spring training season. Then last year, games had limited capacity. So this was the year to make up for that. Unfortunately, games are being delayed.

The general manager at The Saguaro Hotel right in the heart of Old Town says they have had a few cancellations but says most people are finding other ways to enjoy their stay, instead of canceling their trip altogether.

“What we have seen as people really are booking Scottsdale in hopes that spring training will happen and if they get here and they don’t have spring training they still have a lot to enjoy with the weather and everything Scottsdale has to offer,” Saguaro Hotel general manager Joe Iturri said.

“There have been cancellations from people who are really die-hard fans coming to see their teams and unfortunately they have canceled but I think most people are ready to take their chances and really enjoyed coming out to Arizona anyway. We believe there is so much pent-up demand out there and really people who just want to get out and book a trip and enjoy the weather.” Iturri hopes they don’t start to see cancellations because many businesses rely on tourism.

“It’s a significant amount of our revenues for the year. What we make in the month of March or at least over spring training the end of February and March is pretty much what we have to support us for the rest of the year so it’s really important for us,” Iturri said. Other hotels like the Scott Resort and the Arizona Grand are also seeing a sharp demand in bookings for spring visits despite the delay of the spring training season.

A local business, Wild Bunch Desert Guides, which offers hiking and mountain biking tours, says they have actually seen an increase in bookings. They have also not had any cancellations directly linked to the delay. The owner says the last two years have taught her a lot and prepared her for any challenges she may face this year.

“After 2021 we dealt with the effects of the pandemic and having to rethink and think out-of-the-box to keep my small business going. This is something that I had to learn to prepare for better so if in fact spring training does get delayed or we miss a season, we are a little bit better prepared when it comes to the financial part of it and keeping my guides going and on a business, side making sure everything is in a line,” Laurel Darren, the owner of Wild Bunch Desert Guides said. “It does not surprise me that people have chosen Arizona as a place to come to after being locked down for so long.”