For baseball fans in Southern California, nothing says spring quite like a trip to the Cactus League. Hop in the car, or on a short flight to Phoenix, and sun-drenched baseball can be yours before the Dodgers and Angels return home for the new season.
In the Cactus League, tourists are the target audience. The stadiums almost always are built at no cost to the teams, with public agencies counting on tourist dollars to provide the return on investment. Glendale, Ariz., borrowed $200 million to construct Camelback Ranch, luring the Dodgers and Chicago White Sox to that Phoenix suburb.
“It’s really the fans that built the business case for why you would want to spend $200 million on a spring training complex,” Glendale city manager Kevin Phelps said. “Without those fans staying in your hotel rooms and eating in your restaurants and shopping in your stores, spring training quickly becomes one of the worst business decisions you can make.”
That is why some Arizona officials are hoping Major League Baseball delays the start of spring training. By waiting another month, as holiday-related coronavirus surges subside and vaccinations become more readily available, Cactus League games could be regarded as a safer and more attractive draw for tourists.
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