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Governor applauds Florida Spring Training Baseball

By Staff | Apr 19, 2012

Florida Spring Training Baseball continues to be a hot spot for Baseball fans as more than 1.6 million fans attended the 233 games of the 2012 season, setting a new per game attendance record, with an average of 6,965 fans attending games during the month of March. In the 233 games played in 14 Florida locations, over the course of 33 days, a total of 1,622,957 fans passed through stadium turnstiles. Only three games were rained out in the 2012 Florida Grapefruit League season, with all three coming on Sunday, March 11.

“Florida’s great weather and sporting events like spring training continue to draw people to our state,” Gov. Rick Scott said in a prepared statement released by the Governor’s Office Thursday afternoon. “We are grateful to all of the visitors and businesses that made Spring Training a success and look forward to another exciting season of baseball.”

The total attendance figure was compiled, by the Florida Sports, a division of Enterprise Florida, Inc., from daily box scores and confirmed by each of the 15 teams in the Florida Grapefruit League. Only games played in Florida between Major League teams were included in the total.

The record-setting 2012 season reflected the all-time highest per game average attendance of 6,965 fans per game, topping the previous mark of 6,640 per game in 2010.

Among the highlights of the 2012 season was the opening of the new home of the Boston Red Sox, JetBlue Park in Fort Myers. With a larger seating capacity than the Red Sox previous spring training home, City of Palms Park, total attendance increased by more than 30,000 fans and added nearly 2,000 fans per game. The Red Sox totaled 151,417 fans in 16 games for an average of 9,464 per game.

The Detroit Tigers, playing their 76th spring training season in Lakeland, increased their total attendance for the fourth consecutive year with 134,899 attending 17 games at Joker Marchant Stadium for an average of 7,935 per game. The Tigers total attendance increased by more than 15,000 and the per game attendance increased by more than 900 per game. The Tigers and the City of Lakeland have the longest-standing relationship of any team playing in a spring training city than any other team in Major League Baseball.

By showing off their new home, Marlins Park in downtown Miami, for two games against the New York Yankees, the Miami Marlins saw a significant jump in attendance as nearly 60,000 fans watched the Marlins and Yankees on April 1 and 2. The Yankees then traveled north to meet the New York Mets in Port St. Lucie, on April 3, and the two teams played before an record crowd of 7,644 in Digital Domain Park. It was the first game between the Yankees and Mets during the Florida Spring Training season since 1996.

A total of eight Florida Spring Training teams surpassed the 100,000 total attendance mark as the Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Miami Marlins, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies reached six figures. Three teams, the Red Sox, Yankees and Phillies, each topped 150,000 total attendance.

Florida’s spring training tradition began in 1888 when the Washington Statesmen traveled to Jacksonville to work out in the “off season.” Since that time, the “off season” workouts have become an economic benefit to the state as Florida Spring Training Baseball provides the State of Florida a $753 million economic impact each year. The total was determined by an economic impact survey, compiled during the 2009 season, by Bonn Marketing Research Group of Tallahassee.

For more information about the Florida Grapefruit League and spring training baseball in the Sunshine State, visit www.floridagrapefruitleague.com .

2012 Team-by-Team Florida Spring Training Attendance

ATLANTA BRAVES – Disney’s Wide World of Sports, Lake Buena Vista

17 Games (one cancellation): 127,321 total attendance; 7,489 average per game

Largest Crowd: 10,755 vs. New York Yankees, Saturday, March 10

BALTIMORE ORIOLES – Ed Smith Stadium, Sarasota

15 Games; 106,398 total attendance; 7,093 average per game

Largest Crowd: 8,686 vs. New York Yankees, Sunday, March 18

BOSTON RED SOX – JetBlue Park, Fort Myers

16 Games; 151,417 total attendance; 9,464 average per game

Largest Crowd: 10,002, vs. Washington Nationals, Monday, April 2

DETROIT TIGERS – Joker Marchant Stadium, Lakeland

17 Games; 134,899 total attendance; 7,935 average per game

Largest Crowd: 10,115 vs. New York Yankees, Saturday, March 24

HOUSTON ASTROS – Osceola County Stadium, Kissimmee

14 Games (one cancellation); 56,379 total attendance; 4,027 average per game

Largest Crowd: 5,774 vs. New York Yankees, Saturday, March 31

MIAMI MARLINS Roger Dean Stadium, Jupiter

16 Games (14 at Roger Dean Stadium, 2 at Marlins Park); 126,961 total attendance; 7,935 average per game

Largest Crowd: 32,005 vs. New York Yankees, Monday, April 2 at Marlins Park

MINNESOTA TWINS- Hammond Stadium, Fort Myers

16 Games; 117,503 total attendance; 7,344 average per game

Largest Crowd: 8,285 vs. Toronto Blue Jays, Tuesday, March 13

NEW YORK METS – Digital Domain Park, Port St. Lucie

15 Games; 80,377 total attendance; 5,358 average per game

Largest Crowd: 7,644 vs. New York Yankees, Tuesday, April 3 (All time high attendance)

New York Yankees – Steinbrenner Field, Tampa

15 Games; 162,832 total attendance; 10,855 average per game

Largest Crowd: 11,048, vs. Boston Red Sox, Tuesday, March 13

Philadelphia Phillies – Bright House Field, Clearwater

16 Games; 153,493 total attendance; 9,593 average per game

Largest Crowd: 10,853, vs. Detroit Tigers, Monday, March 19

Pittsburgh Pirates – McKechnie Field, Bradenton

15 Games; 82,390 total attendance; 5,493 average per game

Largest Crowd: 6,595, vs. New York Yankees, Tuesday, March 6

St. Louis Cardinals – Roger Dean Stadium, Jupiter

13 Games (one cancellation); 85,857 total attendance; 6,604 average per game

Largest Crowd: 7,629, vs. Miami Marlins, Sunday, March 18

TAMPA BAY RAYS – Charlotte Sports Park, Port Charlotte

16 Games; 87,916 total attendance; 5,495 average per game

Largest Crowd: 7,826, vs. Boston Red Sox, Sunday, March 18

Toronto Blue Jays Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, Dunedin

16 Games; 76,008 total attendance; 4,751 per game average

Largest Crowd: 5,541, vs. Tampa Bay Rays, Friday, March 16

Washington Nationals – Space Coast Stadium, Viera

15 Games; 73,206 total attendance; 4,880 per game average

Largest Crowd: 7,246 vs. New York Yankees, Thursday, March 15

Florida Spring Training Total Attendance

233 Games (three cancellations); 1,622,957 total attendance; 6,965 per game

Source: Office of the Governor