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Florida Spring Training hits grand slam in 2015

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Spring training baseball has been very, very good to Florida this year.

Attendance numbers released today for the 33-day Florida Spring Training season saw an 8.1 percent increase in total attendance in 2015, with each of the 15 teams surpassing the 2014 season.

Total attendance for the 2015 season was 1,587,463.

“Florida’s tourism industry creates jobs and opportunities for millions of Florida families,” Gov. Rick Scott said in a statement. “Which is why we worked with the Legislature in 2013 to create a program that provides more than $3 million annually to be used only for Spring Training facilities.”

Since 2000, total attendance has surpassed 1.5 million in 13 of the last 16 years. Over 25 million fans have attended Florida Spring Training games since 2000.

The New York Yankees, which trains at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, led the Florida Grapefruit League with a total attendance of 171,915, leading the league with an average per game of 10,113. The Yankees also enjoyed the largest Florida Grapefruit League crowd of the season, when they faced the Atlanta Braves on March 12. Attendance was 10,936.

“We are proud of the marketing and promotional efforts of the 15 teams in Florida, the Regional Sports Commissions, the Convention and Visitor’s Bureaus and the Florida Sports Foundation Staff who spread the word of the Florida Grapefruit League,” said Florida Sports Foundation President John Webb. “These entities spend months promoting the team schedules, the ballparks and their amenities and the family-friendly opportunities the Florida Spring Training experience has to offer. “

Of the Florida-based teams, the Tampa Bay Rays, training in Charlotte Sports Park, Port Charlotte, played 14 games for 80,406 total attendance; 5,360 average per game. The largest crowd was against Detroit Tigers on April 4 at Tropicana Field with an audience of 8,934.

Playing out of Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, the Miami Marlins held 14 games for 70,982 total attendance; 5,070 average per game. Their largest crowd was against the St. Louis Cardinals on March 17, drawing 6,860.

In Clearwater, the Philadelphia Phillies attracted 127,479 in total attendance for 16 games at Bright House Field, for a per-game average of 7,967. The largest crowd was 9,815 on March 15 versus the Boston Red Sox.

Florida Sports Foundation compiled Florida Spring Training attendance for 2015 by using daily box scores of games played between Major League teams, confirmed by each of the 15 teams.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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