Spring training spurs $80 million for the Southwest Florida economy

Packed stadium during a spring training game. (Credit: WINK News)
Packed stadium during a spring training game. (Credit: WINK News)

Another spring training season has come and gone as the Minnesota Twins, the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays are packing up their gear and heading back home.

But, fans like Jim and Jan Strandlie said they are already planning a trip back to Southwest Florida.

“We’ve been watching baseball at home for forever, so the opportunity to come down and watch spring training, that’s really what attracted us,” Jim Strandlie said.

It is a grand slam for local economies. While baseball maybe this couple’s highlight to owning a timeshare in Lehigh Acres, it is not all they do when they are visiting.

“We just love the area and we’re dancers, so we go to Cape Cabaret over in Cape Coral a lot,” Jim Strandlie said.

The same love for baseball drew new visitors to Hammond Stadium as well.

Laura and Dan Genovese flew down from Colorado to see the Rockies play its first spring training game in Hammond Stadium.

“Since we’ve been down here and gone to the beach,” Dan Genovese said. “That there are people following the Red Sox down here, the Twins, so obviously it draws a lot of people from around the country down here.”

In addition to the Twins, the Red Sox and the Rays make their spring training homes in Southwest Florida. Close to 300,000 people poured money into our local economy. It brought more than $80 million in profits to the teams, local restaurants, hotels and shops.

“Why go to Arizona when you can go to Florida and watch the Twins?” Jan Strandlie said.

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