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From the Mayor - INFOCUS - January/February 2013
If the fans are any indication Goodyear is growing among Ohio’s baseball faithful with every season of Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds spring training. Our economy is winning as a result of that enthusiasm.
Ohio Baseball Connection Growing Goodyear Economy Stronger by the Season
I heard all about it when I made a December visit to fans in chilly Cleveland and Cincinnati. I am happy to report the reception couldn’t have been warmer.
Of course, it helps to invite people to Arizona when it is cold and rain is threatening to become snow on a cloudy day. But you never really know what people are thinking until you extend the invitation.
Everyone had heard of Goodyear, but some were more familiar than others. The reporters I spoke with were the most familiar with our city. While one jokingly asked if we had a McDonald’s restaurant others repeatedly asked how far we were from the airport. Those who have already visited were curious about new restaurants and other amenities added to the community.
But this is why my visit was so important. I was able to market our great city to Ohio fans. After all, that is what spring training is all about. People may come for the game, but they eat at restaurants, shop in local stores and stay in our hotels, investing tourismdollars that support jobs and make our city stronger.
Spring training first came to Arizona in 1947. The Cleveland Indians were one of the two teams that started the Cactus League. Local business leaders at the time worked hard to bring the “Tribe” and the New York Giants to the state because they saw the potential benefits to the local economy.
They assumed fans would be tired of dreary winters and would be eager to follow their hometown teams to sunny weather. Sixty-five years later, they were right. New studies just released show spring training and the year-round events that take at the ballparks around the Valley together generate an estimated $632 million in annual economic benefit to our region.
Whether the money is spent in Goodyear or Mesa, that kind of annual investment from tourists helps everyone and, based on the response from fans in Ohio, translates into a heck of a lot of hamburgers!