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Reports: 2015 Cactus League Economic Impact Estimated At $800 Million

cactus league
(Photo by Matthew Casey - KJZZ)
Gov. Doug Ducey announces the results of a pair of studies measuring the 2015 economic impact of the Cactus League. The reports, conducted and published by a Tucson firm, estimate the spring training's economic effect at about $800 million.

A pair of Cactus League-financed studies released Thursday conclude spring training’s total economic impact in 2015 will be about $800 million.

The news follows an auditsaying the state agency charged with distributing public money to Valley cities that host Cactus League teams isn’t collecting enough money to meet all of its financial obligations.

The Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority draws from a variety of sources to make payments toward University of Phoenix Stadium, Major League Baseball spring training facilities, youth athletics and grants. The newly released economic impact data demonstrates the Cactus League’s value to the Valley, said ASTA President and CEO Tom Sadler.

“The whole point in this is simply — we’re going to have to continue to fund these efforts to provide economic impact of this nature,” Sadler said.  

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey described the Cactus League and baseball as base industries during a Thursday press conference announcing completion of the studies. He did not share specific ideas for helping ASTA meet its financial commitments.

“We’re going to have different economic and financial needs where we need to fill shortfalls and the way we’re going to do it is by growing the economy,” Ducey said. 

Sadler said the Authority will fund all the cities that financed stadium renovations or built facilities, including Surprise.

The reports, conducted and published by the Tucson-based company FMR Associates, Inc., examine the league’s direct economic impact as well as the year-round financial effect of Cactus League facilities.

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.