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Revenue loss from delayed spring training a concern, tourism expert says

By Vaughan Jones
Published: Saturday, March 19, 2022 - 1:13pm
Updated: Saturday, March 19, 2022 - 2:07pm

The first pitch of spring training was finally thrown Thursday after almost 100 days of MLB labor negotiations.

However, this is the third straight year of either a shortened schedule or reduced stadium capacity, after the COVID-19 pandemic affected both the 2020 and 2021 season.

Kim Sabow is the president of the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association. She says the figures aren’t in for this year just yet, but the pandemic-shortened 2020 season is a marker for what could be lost.

“We don’t have numbers yet on what that shortened season will look like, knowing we lost a couple of weeks. But if you look back to 2020, I think we lost about 40% of the season, and that represented about a $300 million loss to the state,” said Sabow.

Goodyear Ballpark
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Arizona.

Sabow says other factors, such as high gas prices and staffing issues at businesses close to stadiums, may also impact revenue.

“During the pandemic, we really enjoyed great numbers, comparatively speaking, with all the drive traffic from surrounding markets, and I know that people are taking a second look. So, hopefully those numbers will stabilize, and it won’t impact us too badly, but it is a concern,” said Sabow.

Sabow says statistics from her organization show 6 in 10 visitors who attend spring training games come from out of state, and a third of those visitors take the opportunity to visit other parts of Arizona.

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