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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Crist continues to lure Chicago Cubs



Gov. Charlie Crist's schedule Friday includes a stop in Naples for a press conference about spring training baseball in Florida. This comes as the Chicago Cubs contemplate moving facilities from Arizona. A Crist spokesman said no major announcement is expected. (The Cubs anticipate making a decision soon though.)

On the eve of the announcement, proponents released a new economic impact study showing tourists would bring $36 million to Collier County each year. The study, conducted by Fifth Avenue Advisors in partnership with Davidson-Peterson Associates, appears to mirror a larger study commissioned by the Legislature in 2009 showing Major League Baseball's boon to the state. As with all studies of this kind, the numbers are often inflated. But it's more ammo for Crist to tout this as a job-boosting move, if the Cubs pick him. For the full release on the economic impact study, read below.

Chicago Cubs Spring Training visitors would bring $36 million to Collier each year

NAPLES, FL (January 20, 2010) — Chicago Cubs Spring Training fans who visit Collier County will spend an estimated $36 million here each year, according to a new economic impact study, conducted by Fifth Avenue Advisors in partnership with Davidson-Peterson Associates.

The study documents the potential direct spending by non-resident fans who would attend Cubs spring training games, should the Chicago Cubs relocate their Spring Training and Baseball Operations facilities to Collier County.  The analysis considers direct spending data by Red Sox and Twins fans[i] and the spring training attendance history of Chicago Cubs, which have consistently drawn the highest records in Major League Baseball.

This study focuses specifically on the direct spending of non-resident fans who do not live in Collier County and travel to attend games.  Additionally, this study only considers the direct spending during the typical four-week period of Spring Training games and excludes the spending of those attending only practices.

"The results of this analysis confirm our initial intuition about attracting the top brand in professional baseball to our community,” says Craig Bouchard, Vice-Chairman of Esmark Corp., who is leading the Cubs effort.  “Collier County revenues will rise dramatically, as will revenues for the state.  This project represents a potential ignition to the recovery of Collier County and could add another crown jewel to our cultural treasure chest.”

The $36 million represents only a fraction of the economic impact that would be enjoyed, should the Cubs leave Mesa. Not only will local fans contribute to the economy, but the stadium and surrounding Wrigleyville will supply jobs, county and state revenues, as well as returns during the rest of the year, outside of Spring Training activities.

Specific findings for the Chicago Cubs Direct Impact to Collier County - Spring Training Study include:

Chicago Cub Fans Spend Millions during Spring Training. It is estimated that the annual direct spending by non-resident Cubs fans attending spring training games will bring $36,487,181 to the local Collier County economy.  This amount, spent outside of the stadium, includes money used for lodging, shopping, and food and beverages to name a few.  This amount does not include spending at the stadium or on tickets, as these expenditures tend to stay with the team.

Chicago Cub Fans Spending at Spring Training Creates Jobs. The number of jobs supported by the direct and indirect spending of non-residents is estimated to be 748.  Total employment includes the number of employees necessary to produce the direct output purchased with the Cub fans' expenditures, plus the employees necessary to produce additional output purchased with the recirculation of money in Collier County.

Cub Fans' Expenditures Would Generate New Local and State Revenue. The direct and indirect spending of non-resident attendees of Cub’s games is estimated to provide the Collier County and the State of Florida governments with new revenues of $1.9 million and $3.9 million dollars respectively.  County government revenue would come in the form of bed tax, local park user fees and operating income for local government agencies.  The state government would generate new revenue primarily from sales tax but also, gasoline taxes, vehicle licenses and registrations, boat registrations, hunting and fishing licenses, liquor taxes, and state park user fees.

Attendance at Cubs Spring Training is Substantial. As the most popular team in the Cactus League, the Cubs have a disproportionate economic and fiscal benefit to their home county and state than a “typical” Spring Training team.  In 2009, among the 30 Major League teams, the Cubs rank first in home attendance (203,105).  According to the Cactus League, eight of the top 10 single game records involve the Cubs.  In fact, the Cubs have greater attendance than the two lowest attended teams in the Cactus League combined: Milwaukee Brewers (82,271) and Colorado Rockies (75,557).

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 12:14pm]


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