Spring training games bring economic boost to Phoenix area

The Cactus League does a lot more than just bring awesome baseball games to the Valley during spring training season.
Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 3:27 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The Cactus League’s spring training season is well underway, and with it comes a big boost to the Phoenix-area economy.

Baseball games are typically long, but with the new MLB pitch clock, most games are shorter, with some even a little more than 2 hours. So if you’re coming out to a game this season, you may miss a few innings if you show up late. On Saturday, over 60,000 people were out to catch a game at one of the ten ballparks hosting the spring training games that day.

For the Tempe Diablos, spring training is the nonprofit’s biggest money-maker of the year. The organization has already raised several hundred thousand dollars in just a few weeks thanks to all the volunteers helping to run the stadium. After several years of setbacks, shorter seasons, and reduced crowds, Arnold Mejia said it feels great to return to full-speed fundraising. “We’re seeing enthusiastic crowds, and they’re coming back to us after being out for the last 3 years,” Mejia said. “The lion’s share of what we’re able to put back into the community comes from our baseball operations, so for us to have that full suite of games back, the full 15, is a really big deal.”

The Diablos give back in various ways, the most significant being through scholarships to high school and college students.

Over the years, the organization has given away $5 million of scholarship money, so when you pay for parking or do the 50/50 raffle at an Angels game, the money goes directly toward a great cause. Bridget Binsbacher, the league’s executive director, said, “I think a lot of them are liking it [the new MLB clock], but it’s definitely speeding up the game and how that affects fans. We just want to remind them that it’s a change. The game moves quicker- don’t be 30 minutes late. You may miss two innings.

The Diamondback’s last game is Sunday, March 26.