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Official has sunny outlook for Cactus League revenue

PHOENIX — Exhibition baseball season is about to bring a big chunk money into the Valley.

Spring training games start Friday, and with them comes hundreds of thousands of fans and tourists. Last season, the Cactus League set an attendance record with 1.7 million fans.

“Sixty percent of that was out-of state visitors,” said Mark Coronado, Cactus League president. “According to 2012 numbers, we were able to deliver an economic impact of about $422 million.”

Coronado said that was just the money made on games. Add the revenue generated year-round, and the Cactus League has a $632 million economic impact on the Valley.

“The spring-training impact was up from 2007 about 30 percent. We were in the $300 million range,” Coronado said.

The exhibition home for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies has a lot to do with the increase. Since opening in 2011, Salt River Fields has dramatically increased attendance.

“They are becoming one of the highlights of our Cactus League,” Coronado said. “The Rockies historically were in the bottom third of attendance when they were in Tucson and now they’ll be in the top third.”

The Cactus League could be in for another record-setting season. With some ballparks hosting extra games for the World Baseball Classic, this could be its best year.

• For more information visit Arizona Sports’ Spring Training Headquarters