Spring Training Delay Threatens $1.3B Economic Impact

    • The delay to baseball's spring training is threatening $1.3 billion in economic impact in Florida and Arizona.
    • This is the third consecutive year spring training has been disrupted.

We are still weeks away from baseball’s originally scheduled Opening Day, but the impact of the ongoing lockout is already being felt.

Communities in Florida and Arizona are missing out on combined economic activity worth around $1.3 billion due to the delay of spring training.

The annual exhibition, which was set to begin on Feb. 26, sees half the league’s 30 teams play in Southern and Central Florida’s Grapefruit League, with the other half playing in the Phoenix area’s Cactus League.

  • A study from 2018 found that spring training brought a $687 million impact to Florida, with 1.5 million fans in attendance, 52% from out of state.
  • A separate study found that the Cactus League brought $644 million to the area in 2018. The league said that 1.8 million people attend each year, 60% from out of state.

While MLB and the MLBPA have resumed talks, the two sides remain far apart on core economic issues and are still debating rule changes to the sport.

Three-Year Impact

The lockout is just the latest hit to spring training communities, which saw the previous two seasons impacted by the pandemic. 

Spring training was cut short in March 2020 and was played with around 25% fan attendance in 2021.

The MLBPA established a $1 million fund to support stadium workers and others impacted by the delay in the season. MLB said it will create a similar program.