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Spring training brings thousands of visitors, boost to SWFL economy

Major League Baseball’s spring training is in full swing here in Southwest Florida this weekend. That means thousands of visitors will be in the region to catch a ball game, not to mention all the teams and staff that come along with them.

So we looked at the money baseball fans bring into to the local economy Sunday during our visit to Hammond Stadium in south Fort Myers.

Fans poured into the Minnesota Twins spring training facility this weekend. About 9,000 tickets were sold for Sunday’s game.

In a Lee County study, nearly 80% of the audience at spring training games are from out of town, and that means they’re bringing dollars to our local bars, restaurants and hotels.

Research from 2018 shows travelers attending spring training spent around $69 million in the area while visiting.

We spoke to visitors from all over about why they come out.

“If you’re a baseball fan, smaller stadium, spring training time is the best time to watch a game,” said Alex Lanchier, visiting from Toronto.

Between Hammond Stadium and Fenway South at JetBlue Park, 25% of fans live in Southwest Florida. And they are putting money back into the local economy as well.

“Vacationing here for 9 days and it was something to do,” said Paulette Cook, visiting from Minnesota.

Lee County says the economic impact supports things such as jobs and local government revenues.

“We love Southwest Florida,” said Brian Johnson visiting from Minnesota.

Reporter:Gina Tomlinson
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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