I have been a long-time admirer and supporter of spring training, an event I have attended for at least the last twenty years, first as a fan then later as a journalist.
Still, I can understand that writing about spring training in August may seem odd. Yet there is a method to my madness.
In my recent electronic travels, I came across a brand new study which assesses the economic impact of spring training on the Florida economy. The Bonn Marketing Research Group, Inc. was contracted by the Florida Sports Foundation to do the work. In addition to financial data, the study team interviewed over 2,100 game attendees this spring.
As the summary says,
‘The study documents demographic and behavioral characteristics of those attendees whose expenditures contributed to the overall economic impact. Included in this economic impact analysis were operating expenditures for teams, stadiums, concessionaires and game attendees expenditures.”
While there is considerable detail on each of the elements noted above, I will quote just the highest-level conclusion:
“During 2009, the total value of MLB Florida spring training upon the Florida economy represented $752.3 million in total spending, which generated $284.2 million in total labor income and supported or created 9,205 part-time and full-time jobs.”
That isn’t why I am posting about the subject here, however. There were several supporting data areas buried in the study detail that I found interesting as a St. Louis Cardinals watcher.
Homes of spring training attendees
I am not alone in my travels as the Cardinals rank fourth of 16 Florida teams in the percentage of out-of-state spring training attendees at 61%. The average is 48%.
|Interviews||FL in-county||FL non-county||Out of state|
Spring training attendance
Though the Cardinals ranked seventh in total spring attendance with over 101,000 fans in 2009, their per-game attendance of 5,652 is just ninth. That total is below the Florida average of 6,030 per game.
Listed capacity of Jupiter’s Roger Dean Stadium is just under 7,000, officially 6,871. On the average, the Cards games are at 82% capacity.
Here I will step away from the study for a moment to show the changes in Cardinals spring training attendance over the last decade.
Attendance at Jupiter’s Roger Dean Stadium for Cardinals games is down 20 percent since 2000 even while overall MLB Florida per game spring attendance (including the Cardinals) grew by ten percent.
|Cards spring home||Attendance||Dates||Per gm||YTY||FL attendance||Per gm||YTY|
|2009 vs 2000||-1,466||-20.6%||557||10.2%|
The rest of the study data is not broken out by team, but here are a few of the top-level spring training demographic tidbits for all clubs:
• “College Graduate” was the most frequently reported level of education for attendees at an average of 40.8%.
• 72.6% of attendees have and average household income of over $50,000, with 37.3% of attendees having an average household income of over $80,000.
• Over 87% of attendees for the 2009 MLB Florida spring training season were Caucasian.
• On average 63.6% of attendees intercepted during the 2009 MLB Florida spring training season were male compared with the 36.4% that were female.
• “Married” was the most frequently reported marital status for attendees at 71.3%.
• The average spring training party is 2.9 individuals and they remain an average of 5.8 nights.
• 36.9% of attendees reported that they were first time attendees of MLB Florida spring training.
• The attendees’ average number of games attended in the past three years was 8.9 games.
• 91.9% of MLB Florida spring training attendees plan to attend MLB Florida spring training in the future.
Reinforcing that last point, I am one of the majority and hope to see you there next spring!
You can read the entire 56-page study document here.
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