It’s the most wonderful time of the year for baseball fans in Arizona: spring training.
Cactus League Spring Training here in the Valley is set to start once again. The League was founded in 1947, and has blossomed into a baseball fan’s paradise, with ten ballparks hosting 15 Major League Baseball teams.
Spring training is a great family outing for us locals. Why? Stadiums are all around the Valley, there are no bad seats, many parks have lawn areas with cheap tickets and space for kids to move around safely, and there’s a wide variety of innovative menu items including kids and adult beverages.
Besides the fun of being able to watch games, spring training is an economic boom for the Valley.
According to ASU studies, about 60% of Cactus League attendees come from out of state, and about a third of those fans have been attending games for five years or more. Spring training has a lot of impact on our local economy. Consider these stats:
- The 2018 Cactus League season generated an estimated $644.2 million in economic impact for the state of Arizona, according to a study by Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business.
- The study found that the median spring training visitor spent four days in Arizona and that the median traveling party spent $405 per day.
- The Cactus League drew a record 1,941,347 fans in 2017 and routinely draws more than 1.7 million annually. Attendance dipped in 2020 and 2021 because of COVID, and in 2022 because of the MLB lockout, but all signs point to a strong rebound at the gates in 2023.
- The Cactus League created 6,439 annual jobs paying $224.6 million in 2018.
Spring Training games begin on Friday, February 24, so visit the Cactus League’s website for a complete schedule of all the games, stadium maps, and everything you need to know so that you can enjoy a fun family day out in the sun watching some baseball.
Once Spring Training ends, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 2023 season gets into full swing beginning with their home opener against the L.A. Dodgers on the evening of Thursday, April 6th. To see their season schedule, roster, and to purchase tickets, visit Dbacks.com.
The D-backs Kids Club is a free program that rewards fans 15 and younger with prizes for attending home games. You can sign your kids up using the MLB Ballpark app. For details, check out the Kids Club page.
The Diamondbacks also host players ages 7-12 years old each year for an immersive youth Superstar Baseball Camp experience at one of the D-backs’ Major League facilities, offering on-field training, exclusive stadium access, customized gifts, autographed items, four tickets to a D-backs regular-season game, and the opportunity to interact with a D-backs celebrity coach. Camp details can be found here.
And did you know that the Diamondbacks’ website has a whole page full of “Pro Tips” for kids who may be dreaming of making it to the Big Leagues one day. These free videos offer tips on all aspects of the game, including training exercises, hitting, baserunning basics, and team defense, to name a few.
The 2023 MLB season should be an exciting one, with several new rules in place. The arrival of the pitch timer, restrictions on extreme infield shifts, and bigger bases will combine for the most significant alterations to MLB rules in decades. Fans should enjoy these changes that will create more action in a shorter window of time.
So, take yourself out to a ball game and root, root, root for the home team this year!