Impacting Sarasota in more ways than baseball

In the summer of 2009, the Baltimore Orioles and Sarasota County, Florida agreed to a 30-year lease to host spring training baseball in Sarasota, Florida. Previously holding their spring workouts and exhibition season in Fort Lauderdale, the Orioles spent 14 years at Fort Lauderdale Stadium before making the move to Sarasota in the spring of 2010.

The Orioles will begin their slate of 33 exhibition games tomorrow at Ed Smith Stadium and will welcome their one-millionth fan sometime this spring. They’re the fastest franchise in Sarasota history to ever reach that milestone. The lucky fan will be rewarded with a $5,000 shopping experience at Diamond Vault, two Spring Training tickets for the next five years and more.

With the combination of community events and promoted tourism, the Orioles have generated more than $360-million into the economy of Sarasota, Florida; ten times as much as the initial renovations put towards Ed Smith Stadium.

Entering their tenth season in Circus City, the economic impact will continue to boom with events this season such as, “Athletes & Artists Play for Kids,” and continued community support through Orioles Reach. You can read the full Orioles press release about the economical impact the team has brought to Sarasota, right here:

Orioles’ economic impact in Sarasota tops $360 million since 2015

The Orioles have generated more than $360 million in cumulative economic impact in Sarasota since 2015, the first year Sarasota County Government analyzed comprehensive data on the team’s impact.

The county’s analysis measures the total tourism impact created by the Orioles, combined with the club’s business operations and spending in Sarasota County. At $92 million for the most recent reporting period, the Orioles’ annual impact is nearly three times the figure projected when the Orioles moved Major League spring training to Sarasota County in 2010.

“The entire Orioles organization takes pride in providing the greatest economic impact to the Sarasota community of any sports organization in history,” said JOHN ANGELOS, Orioles Executive Vice President. “As Sarasota County’s preeminent sports tourism generator, the club has created more than $360 million and counting in public return on investment during the last four years of our training facility’s operation. We remain steadfast in our commitment to producing year-round Major and Minor League Baseball games, world-class arts and cultural events, and year-round youth training and family recreational programming in the Sarasota community.”

The economic impact delivered to Sarasota County taxpayers and residents results from the club’s marketing and promotion of Sarasota tourism to its fan base across seven Mid-Atlantic states, combined with the commercial activity and corporate presence of the Orioles’ athletic training headquarters, production of public sporting and other entertainment events, and management of youth sports tournaments and recreational programs.

The Orioles’ results have been bolstered by record attendance at spring training games. This season, the Orioles will celebrate the “One Millionth Fan” to attend Orioles games in Sarasota since 2010 – the fastest pace to reach that milestone of any franchise in Sarasota’s nearly century long history of Major League Spring Training.

Through tourism-focused media and promotional programs pioneered by the Orioles to support Visit Sarasota, the number of yearly first-quarter visitors from the Mid-Atlantic region has grown by more than 300 percent since 2009. In the first quarter of 2015, the Orioles were credited by Sarasota travel authorities for making history in yet another way, when the club’s Sarasota 365 campaign catapulted the Orioles’ Mid-Atlantic region to become the number one source of Sarasota tourism. In 2017, the Baltimore-Washington market generated the second most out-of-state visitors to Sarasota County, surpassed by only the New York City market.

Since the Orioles moved Major League spring training operations to Sarasota in 2010, more than 985,000 fans have enjoyed Orioles Spring Training games at Ed Smith Stadium. Additionally, each year more than 27,000 participants and spectators visit the Orioles complex to participate in youth tournaments, baseball clinics, sports leagues, and other family-friendly and charitable events, which are professionally managed, supported, and frequently financially subsidized by the Orioles.

The attached infographic provides additional details about the year-round impact of the Orioles’ Sarasota 365 initiatives through which the Orioles, MASN, and OriolesREACH demonstrate the club’s 365-day-a-year engagement with the Greater Sarasota Community. For more information on the Orioles’ year-round activities at Ed Smith Stadium and the Buck O’Neil Baseball Complex, visit Orioles.com/Sarasota.

Brian Pinter

Brian Pinter is the Director of Coverage on the Baltimore Orioles for Maryland Sports Blog. His views and opinions are that of his own and he welcomes any and all discussions. Follow along with Brian Pinter this season on Twitter, @b_pinter23.

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