By Howard Fischer | Arizona Capitol Times
The president of the Cactus League said Friday that Arizona communities need to continue to invest in the stadiums used by the major league teams that practice and play there.
But Chris Calcaterra said this isn’t being done for the benefit of the team owners, many of whom are billionaires. Instead, he said, the dollars spent to improve the facilities are for the benefit of the fans.
The questions arose Friday as an economic impact study commissioned by the league said the 2023 season generated $418.5 million.
In real terms, the report says, that’s about 4.4% below 2018, the last year there was a full season not interrupted or cancelled by a strike or Covid. And that is caused in part by the fact that total attendance this year was down by close to 12%, with fewer games played this year — 216 — versus 231 in 2018.
But even with that, the average attendance per game of 7,246 was still 5.7% lower than five years ago.
According to the study, about 60% of visitors came from out of state who stayed an average of four nights and attended three games. Based on interviews with visitors, the Seidman Research Institute at Arizona State University figured they spent a total of $345.3 million this year, about $144 million of that on hotels and other accommodations, $77 million at bars and restaurants and the balance on everything from game tickets and souvenirs to rental cars and other entertainment.