Spring Training baseball draws record crowds in Florida

Spring training (Large)

More fans than ever watched Spring Training baseball in Florida this year, Gov. Rick Scott said Wednesday.

For the first time in more than 100 years, more than 7,000 fans per game showed up, which is a lot of Cracker Jack.

“I am proud to announce that Florida’s Spring Training reached a 100-year record high per game attendance this season,” Scott said. “Spring Training and Major League Baseball are a major attraction for families and visitors, and have an incredible economic impact on the local communities that host these fifteen Florida Grapefruit League teams. Last year we welcomed 105 million visitors to our state, and we will keep working to support the tourism industry so we can reach another record year in Florida.”

In all, 1,525,570 fans showed up, the 14th time in the last 17 years more than 1,5 million fans came.

The Houston Astros, playing in Kissimmee’s Osceola County Stadium, showed a 15.3 percent per game attendance increase. The 2015 National League Champions, the New York Mets, playing at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie, had a 13.2 percent increase.

The St. Louis Cardinals, playing at Jupiter’s Roger Dean Stadium, had a 6.4 percent average per game attendance increase, and the Toronto Blue Jays, playing at Dunedin’s Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, saw a 5.1 percent per game attendance increase.

The Yankees, not surprisingly, led all teams with 160,859 fans. The Red Sox drew 149,307.

The Rays drew 68,584, or an average of 5,276 fans. Houston and Toronto drew fewer fans per game.

Florida Spring Training attendance for 2016 team-by-team, courtesy of Scott’s office:

 Atlanta Braves – Disney’s Wide World of Sports, Lake Buena Vista

16 Games (2 rained out): 103,574 total attendance; 6,473 average per game.

Largest Crowd: 9,029 versus Washington Nationals, Saturday, March 12.

Baltimore Orioles – Ed Smith Stadium, Sarasota

16 Games: 119,029 total attendance; 7,439 average per game.

Largest Crowd: 8,518 versus Boston Red Sox, Saturday, March 28.

Boston Red Sox – JetBlue Park, Fort Myers

15 Games: 149,397 total attendance; 9,960 average per game.

Largest Crowd: 10,103, versus Minnesota Twins, Thursday, March 10.

Detroit Tigers – Joker Marchant Stadium, Lakeland

15 Games (2 rained out): 116,061 total attendance; 7,737 average per game.

Largest Crowd: 9,074 versus Toronto Blue Jays, Tuesday, March 22.

Houston Astros – Osceola County Stadium, Kissimmee

12 Games (1 rain out): 50,870 total attendance; 4,239 average per game.

Largest Crowd: 5,191, versus Toronto Blue Jays, Thursday, March 17.

Miami Marlins – Roger Dean Stadium, Jupiter

14 Games (2 at Marlins Park, 2 rained out): 88,375 total attendance; 6,313 average per game.

Largest Crowd: 7,489 versus Boston Red Sox, Tuesday, March 22.

Minnesota Twins – Hammond Stadium, Fort Myers

15 Games: 121,005 total attendance; 8,067 average per game.

Largest Crowd: 9,109 versus New York Yankees, Sunday, March 20.

New York Mets – Tradition Field, Port St. Lucie

14 Games: 96,552 total attendance; 6,897 average per game.

Largest Crowd: 7,710 versus Boston Red Sox, Sunday, March 20.

New York Yankees – Steinbrenner Field, Tampa

16 Games: 160,849 total attendance; 10,053 average per game.

Largest Crowd: 11,159, versus Tampa Bay Rays, Thursday, March 24.

Philadelphia Phillies – Bright House Field, Clearwater

15 Games (1 rain out): 112,781 total attendance; 7,519 average per game.

Largest Crowd: 11,122, versus Tampa Bay Rays, Thursday, March 17.

Pittsburgh Pirates – McKechnie Field, Bradenton

15 Games (1 rain out): 103,762 total attendance; 6,917 average per game.

Largest Crowd: 7,791, versus Boston Red Sox, Wednesday, March 9.

St. Louis Cardinals – Roger Dean Stadium, Jupiter

13 Games (1 rain out): 90,985 total attendance; 6,999 average per game.

Largest Crowd: 7,671, versus Boston Red Sox, Monday, March 21.

Tampa Bay Rays – Charlotte Sports Park, Port Charlotte

13 Games (1 rain out): 68,584 total attendance; 5,276 average per game.

Largest Crowd: 6,876 versus Boston Red Sox, Friday, March 18.

Toronto Blue Jays – Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, Dunedin

14 Games (1 rain out): 72,661 total attendance; 5,190 average per game.

Largest Crowd: 5,549 versus Boston Red Sox, Friday, March 11.

Washington Nationals – Space Coast Stadium, Viera

12 Games (2 rain outs): 71,085 total attendance; 5,924 per game average.

Largest Crowd: 7,718 versus New York Yankees, Wednesday, March 23.

Florida Spring Training Total Attendance

215 Games (15 rain outs): 1,525,570 total attendance; 7,096 per game.

Follow the Florida Grapefruit League at www.floridagrapefruitleague.com.

Gary Shelton

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori.


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