Sarasota County analysis: Orioles' annual economic impact is $81 million

An economic impact analysis by Sarasota County Government has concluded that the Orioles' corporate presence through Spring Training and year-round baseball activities, as well as the club's promotion of entertainment and tourism, generated approximately $81 million in the Greater Sarasota community in the past year. The figure far exceeds the $40- to $50-million estimate reported by the State of Florida in a 2009 analysis of communities that host Major League Baseball Spring Training.

February 17th, 2016

An economic impact analysis by Sarasota County Government has concluded that the Orioles' corporate presence through Spring Training and year-round baseball activities, as well as the club's promotion of entertainment and tourism, generated approximately $81 million in the Greater Sarasota community in the past year. The figure far exceeds the $40- to $50-million estimate reported by the State of Florida in a 2009 analysis of communities that host Major League Baseball Spring Training.

The Sarasota County study included the tourism impact created by the Orioles through Spring Training games and additional sports and entertainment events hosted by the club at Ed Smith Stadium and the Buck O'Neil Baseball Complex. The Orioles' year-round presence, job creation, economic activity, commerce, and direct club spending also contributed substantially to the results.

"In 2009, the Orioles presented an unprecedented, private-public partnership proposal to Sarasota County and the State of Florida that re-envisioned the model for how Major League Baseball clubs would engage with and deliver economic value to their Spring Training homes," said John Angelos, Orioles Executive Vice President. "Through a transformational partnership, we pledged to devote our facilities, industry expertise, and media platforms to driving incremental tourism through a sister-city approach that would generate a significant return on investment in a community that has historically embraced the game of baseball."

"At the time, the Orioles and industry analysts estimated that we would deliver approximately $40 million in annual economic impact, yet we had great confidence that our new partnership would produce substantially more than those estimates and ultimately inspire an entirely new and mutually-beneficial Spring Training model," Angelos continued.

Now in the seventh year of a 30-year partnership in Sarasota, the Orioles' economic results were bolstered by the club's continuous promotional support of Sarasota tourism, as well as by record attendance at Spring Training games in 2015. Last year, the Orioles set a franchise record in average attendance per game, drawing more than 110,000 fans over 15 home games. Ed Smith Stadium operated at a 99 percent stadium capacity throughout Spring Training with a record-breaking average of 7,484 attendees per game.

Since the partnership began in 2010, more than 640,000 fans have enjoyed Orioles Spring Training games at Ed Smith Stadium. Additionally, each year more than 25,000 participants and spectators visit the Orioles facilities year-round for baseball clinics, youth sports leagues, tournaments, and other family-friendly and charitable events.

"As our year-round activities continue to expand in Sarasota, the Orioles are proud that our $81-million economic impact in the region far exceeds industry and expert projections," said David Rovine, Vice President, Orioles-Sarasota. "Working with the State of Florida, Sarasota County, Visit Sarasota County, the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, and other partners, the Orioles will continue to drive economic impact locally with an even more robust schedule in the coming years."

The strong economic impact results are a reflection of the year-round, multi-platform marketing partnership between Visit Sarasota County and the Orioles, which allows the team to use powerful multimedia assets to promote Sarasota to Orioles fans in the club's seven-state Mid-Atlantic region. The partnership includes 360-degree exposure on the team's television, radio, and digital platforms, as well as in print publications, advertisements, and at special events. 

In 2015, a Visit Sarasota County (VSC) analysis found that a record number of tourists visiting from the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area last winter catapulted the Mid-Atlantic region to the top of the charts for Sarasota's origin-of-visitor cities - a rank held for several years by New York City. In the spring of 2015, nearly 26,000 visitors from the Mid-Atlantic region came to Sarasota County, representing an increase of 128 percent over the same period in 2014, according to the VSC report.

The attached infographic provides additional details about Sarasota 365, a host of initiatives through which the Baltimore Orioles and OriolesREACH demonstrate the ballclub's year-round engagement with the Greater Sarasota community. For more information on the Orioles year-round activities at Ed Smith Stadium and the Buck O'Neil Baseball Complex, visit www.orioles.com/sarasota.

The Orioles begin their seventh season at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota on Wednesday, March 2, at 1:05 p.m. against the Atlanta Braves. The team will play 16 home Spring Training games in 2016.