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Orioles bring economic growth to Sarasota

@JoeTrezz
February 14, 2020

SARASOTA, Fla. -- A decade into their spring stay in Sarasota, the Orioles continue to leave their imprint on the area. The club announced this week that it generated $76 million in economic impact in Sarasota over the most recent reporting period, swelling its overall total to $436 million since

SARASOTA, Fla. -- A decade into their spring stay in Sarasota, the Orioles continue to leave their imprint on the area. The club announced this week that it generated $76 million in economic impact in Sarasota over the most recent reporting period, swelling its overall total to $436 million since 2015.

The club cites Sarasota County’s annual report for the figures, which also include a $91 million impact on the state of Florida for 2019. The county’s analysis measures the total tourism created by the Orioles, combined with the club’s year-round business operations and spending.

“That means more money being spent on communities, not just at the stadium, but at hotels, restaurants and other businesses,” Jennifer Grondal, the Orioles' senior vice president for community development and communications, said at the club’s Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce reception Thursday. “Hopefully, that’s good for everybody.”

The Orioles have been in Sarasota since 2010, when they moved to the area from Fort Lauderdale. Last season, the O’s celebrated a record-breaking milestone by welcoming their one millionth fan to Ed Smith Stadium, the fastest of any franchise to reach that mark in Sarasota. The city has hosted Major League Spring Training for nearly 100 years.

“The team’s impact goes above and beyond the initial figure that was projected when we made Sarasota our home in 2010,” Orioles executive vice president John Angelos said in a statement. “This return on investment is a testament to the collaborative partnership between the state of Florida, Sarasota County, the Orioles and the entire Major League Baseball community. Baseball and the Orioles have delivered for fans, families, and the community, and we are proud of that track record of giving back.”

Baltimore has averaged nearly 110,000 fans per season since moving into Ed Smith Stadium, and 27,000 additional spectators visit the complex annually to participate in youth tournaments, baseball clinics and charitable events. Those efforts have provided more than $120,000 annually to local organizations and $3.5 million total in donations.

“We love this place,” executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias said. “We think it is the best Spring Training setup in the state of Florida. A big part of that is the facility. But an even bigger part of that is the city of Sarasota, the relationships the club has with the business community. … This is a huge outlet of what we call Birdland and it’s a second home to us.”

Joe Trezza covers the Orioles for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeTrezz.