Spring Training Delivers Economic Home Run To Tampa Bay

TAMPA, FL – What kind of economic impact does spring training have in Florida? Consider these numbers from the online rental website Airbnb that show Tampa Bay residents made extra cash by renting out their condos and homes to baseball-loving fans from New York, Detroit, Toronto, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

Florida’s Grapefruit League brought 15 Major League Baseball teams to 12 Florida cities, primarily in Central and Southwest Florida. All cities saw a significant spikes in Airbnb guest arrivals during preseason baseball.

Mid-sized cities such as Lakeland had a 140 percent spike in Airbnb rentals, Dunedin had a 129 percent spike and Port Charlotte had a 157 percent increase during spring training. Lakeland is the spring training home of the Detroit Tigers and the Toronto Blue Jays play their spring games in Dunedin. The Tampa Bay Rays call Port Charlotte home during the spring.

Larger vacation rental markets such as Sarasota saw a 100 percent spike while Clearwater had a 128 percent spike. Bradenton had an 88 percent increase and Tampa, the spring training home to the New York Yankees, had a 92 percent increase. Sarasota is the spring training home to the Baltimore Orioles and the Philadelphia Phillies hold their spring games in Clearwater. The Pittsburgh Pirates call Bradenton home during the spring.

Sarasota hosts received $1.1 million during spring training and Tampa hosts got $906,000, Airbnb reports. Clearwater hosts earned $654,000.

In South Florida, the massive new spring training baseball complex in West Palm Beach has been an economic home run for rentals to baseball fans from Houston and Washington, D.C. Airbnb reports an 82 percent spike in visitors during spring training compared to the previous five-week stretch. That translated into $595,000 in rental income.

Since the complex is home to the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals, it is not surprising that the Nationals’ home base of Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia accounted for most of the visitors, according to Airbnb statistics. Texas fans accounted for the next greatest block.

In all but two of the Florida cities, residents of the team’s home state accounted for the largest supply of Airbnb guests. The Airbnb figures reflect rentals between Feb. 21 to March 27.

"Baseball-related tourism represents a foundational component of the local economies for these cities," said Tom Martinelli of Airbnb Florida. "By expanding lodging capacity for regions with limited hotel inventory, Airbnb hosts helped welcome more families and baseball fans to their cities while serving as ambassadors for their local communities."

Here are other findings from Airbnb related to Florida cities:

TAMPA
Spring Traning Home to New York Yankees

Guest Origin: New York was No. 1 origin state to TampaOverall Spike: 92 percent spike in guests compared to previous five-week stretchHost Income: Tampa hosts earned $906,000 during spring training

CLEARWATER
Spring Training Home to Philadelphia Phillies

Overall Spike: 128 percent spike in guests compared to previous five-week stretchGuest Origin: Pennsylvania was No. 1 origin state to ClearwaterHost Income: Clearwater hosts earned $654,000 during spring training

BRADENTON
Spring Training Home to Pittsburgh Pirates

Overall Spike: 88 percent spike in guests compared to previous five-week stretchGuest Origin: Pennsylvania was No. 1 origin state to BradentonHost Income: Bradenton hosts earned $196,000 during spring training

LAKELAND
Spring Training Home to Detroit Tigers

Overall Spike: 140 percent spike in guests compared to previous five-week stretchGuest Origin: Michigan was No. 1 origin state to LakelandHost Income: Lakeland hosts earned $55,000 during spring training

SARASOTA
Spring Training Home to Baltimore Orioles

Overall Spike: 100 percent spike in guests compared to previous five-week stretchGuest Origin: Maryland was No. 5 origin state to SarasotaHost Income: Sarasota hosts earned $1.1 million during spring training

DUNEDIN
Spring Training Home to Toronto Blue Jays

Overall Spike: 129 percent spike in guests compared to previous five-week stretchGuest Origin: Ontario was No. 1 origin state/province (American or Canadian) to DunedinHost Income: Dunedin hosts earned $125,000 during spring training

FORT MYERS
Spring Training Home to Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins

Overall Spike: 112 percent spike in guests compared to previous five-week stretchGuest Origin: Minnesota was No. 1 origin state to Fort Myers, Massachusetts was No. 2 origin stateHost Income: Fort Myers hosts earned $306,000 during spring training

PORT CHARLOTTE
Spring Training Home to Tampa Bay Rays

Overall Spike: 157 percent spike in guests compared to previous five-week stretchGuest Origin: Florida was No. 1 origin state to Port CharlotteHost Income: Port Charlotte hosts earned $63,000 during spring training

JUPITER
Spring Training Home to Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals

Overall Spike: 133 percent spike in guests compared to previous five-week stretchGuest Origin: Missouri was No. 1 origin state to Jupiter, Florida was No. 2 origin stateHost Income: Jupiter hosts earned $132,000 during spring training

PORT ST. LUCIE
Spring Training Home to New York Mets

Overall Spike: 111 percent spike in guests compared to previous five-week stretchGuest Origin: New York was No. 1 origin state to Port St. LucieHost Income: Port St. Lucie hosts earned $106,000 during spring trainingValue of Expanded Lodging Capacity as Hotels Reach Peak Capacity:

Kissimmee, which is home to the Atlanta Braves for spring training was not included in the statistics, according to Airbnb. The temporary housing website said that Kissimmee represents its third largest Florida market and was too large to discern the influences for any spikes.

Story by Miami Patch Editor Paul Scicchitano

Jake Marisnick of the Houston Astros dives back to first base safe ahead of the tag by Clint Robinson of the Washington Nationals in the third inning during a spring training game at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on Feb. 28, 2017. Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images.

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