Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

March 19, 2009

Host: Ted Simons

Cactus League President

  • Hear what Robert Brinton, Cactus League President, has to say about the league's economic impact and the future of spring training in Arizona. http://www.cactusleague.com
  • Robert Brinton - President,Cactus League
Keywords: baseball, Cleveland Indians, spring training,

View Transcript
Ted Simons
>> joining me now is Robert Brinton, president of the cactus league. good to have you. thanks for joining us. let's talk about the economic impact of getting the Los Angeles Dodgers here, the Cleveland Indians here. what does that mean in terms of money?

Robert Brinton
>> overall Cactus League is probably the best economic generator for our state. every year it's over 300 million dollars, and that was without the Dodgers or the Indians. that number is going to jump up, even in a recession period. we're going to set a new record for what it brings into the state this year. so it's very important to see teams like this, and the Indians return to the Cactus League and the Dodgers welcome a new team.

Ted Simons
>> it also tells other major league teams that these teams found Arizona attractive.

Robert Brinton
>> there is no doubt. the funding mechanisms that have been in place that we originally put into stabilize has actually increased the number of teams here, increased the impact and spread out the quality of life throughout the entire valley, and throughout the state.

Ted Simons
>> let's talk about those funding mechanisms, the TSA, how much money is left for this sort of thing?

Robert Brinton
>> well, pretty much all of the funds have been promised now to this stadium and to the Indians and Reds stadium. the Reds will be joining us next year, making 15 teams, and therefore we'll now have 15 in Arizona and 15 in Florida. so the monies have been committed now, and they're there. there are still funds left for renovation of existing fields, and that's very important to make sure we continue that stability that exists. but there is no new money that's available for future expansion.

Ted Simons
>> well, with that in mind, are there new funding models, new funding options out there?

Robert Brinton
>> I think we're going to see new funding models come forward. and I think you're going to see a private-public partnership at a greater level than what we have had at the past. so there's going to be new models that come forward if any expansion happens.
Ted Simons
>> expansion, what about contraction? what's going on with the Cubs in mesa? we're hearing they're not happy with this, or maybe not pleased with that. what's going on?

Robert Brinton
>> they've not ever said they're not happy, they've not ever said they're going to leave. All that has ever been reported is that their contract has an option. all of the contracts have options in them. they can exercise an option in 2011. we don't think that will happen. 2016, their 20-year contract with us runs out, and there has to be some improvements, and the funds are set aside for those improvements. we think the Cubs will remain the anchor of the Cactus League for many years to come.

Ted Simons
>> what happened to Tucson? what's going on down there? that's been a traditional Cactus League site, venue location, and it just seems like everyone is leaving town.

Robert Brinton
>> well, I don't think it's time yet to say the ninth inning is over down there, but the situation that's happened is that in Maricopa County, we put first in the stadium district many years ago to stabilize when we lost the Indians out of Tucson, we were able to with that start stabilizing and build the Peoria stadium and have the Dodgers and Mariners, and that kind of started the trend. so we were able to kind of start stabilizing that situation. and we had the funding. Tucson did not have the ability or did not decide to do that ability at that time to do a funding mechanism, and as they had some growth because of expansion, that took care of it. now they're attempting to bring in a funding mechanism somewhat similar to what we had -- have in Maricopa county, and that may be able to hold on for them. but spring training has evolved. what it was many years ago was truly conditioning for the players. now major parts of spring training are fan conditioning and sponsor conditioning, and that requires a whole new situation somewhat similar to what we see today with the stadiums and the facilities that we have. it's more than just getting the players ready for spring training.

Ted Simons
>> interesting. obviously there's always been a competition between Arizona and Florida, and it sounds like things have pretty much evened up now. is Florida starting to pay attention, and is Florida doing some of the things Arizona is doing now? and is Arizona looking at Florida and sake, that's an idea we can use?

Robert Brinton
>> the answer is yes. in fact, interestingly, this year at the baseball winter meetings we had a great fruit league-Cactus League joint meeting. we met together with our counterparts and talked about different things. there's an equalization that's been reached. I don't think you're going to see the big switches we've had. there may be some transitions back and forth from time to time. they're in a similar situation to us. they are going to have new models to finance there. I think there's a stabilization. major league baseball has made it clear that they want spring training in Florida. they want spring training in Arizona. I think there's a stabilization, and now we're working together and sharing ideas of things we each do to make it good.

Ted Simons
>> very good. Robert, thank you so much for joining us.

Robert Brinton
>> thank you.

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