An independent economic impact analysis commissioned by Sarasota County Government has concluded that the Orioles generate approximately $89 million in annual economic impact back to taxpayers and residents through the club's marketing and promotion of Sarasota tourism to its fan base across seven Mid-Atlantic states combined with the commercial activity and corporate presence of the Orioles' athletic training headquarters, production of public sporting and other entertainment events, and management of youth sports tournaments and recreational programs.
The Orioles' $89 million economic output is a record for sports tourism creation in Sarasota County, far surpassing any current or past sports facility or private sports operator. The Orioles' annual economic impact result has grown in every year that it has been measured by the annual government study. The Orioles' current impact is more than two and a half times the $35 million impact the Orioles projected in testimony given before the Florida State Senate in 2004 and the Sarasota Board of County Commissioners in 2009, prior to the relocation of the Orioles' year-round training headquarters, unique tourism marketing, and community sports park concept to Sarasota.
The analysis, conducted by Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc., measured the total tourism impact created by the Orioles and its positive impact on the residents and taxpayers of Sarasota County. The ballclub generates quantitative economic impact in the following ways:
- Year-round professional event management, including production of Major League baseball games, commerce, training, and rehabilitation during Spring Training and year-round.
- Year-round production of Minor League games, commerce, and training throughout the Spring, Summer, and Fall months, including presentation at the Ed Smith Stadium of the home schedule of the Gulf Coast League Orioles, along with Minor League training throughout the year.
- Presentation of a series of arts, culture, and community events and programming, including the Orioles' "Arts in the Ballpark" series, featuring the Sarasota Orchestra, "Nashville's Music Row Comes to the Ballpark" fundraising event to benefit the Library Foundation for Sarasota County, the Orioles' "Eat, Live, and Train like the O's Health and Fitness Challenge," and youth baseball tournaments held for tens of thousands of tourists and locally-based families.
- Sarasota 365 marketing and promotion campaign executed by the Orioles to benefit Sarasota County's "Visit Sarasota" tourism agency and employing Orioles multimedia television, digital, social media, and radio platforms, as well as at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, driving fans based in the Mid-Atlantic to vacation in, invest in, and retire to Sarasota County.
The Orioles' results were bolstered by record attendance at Spring Training games in 2016. Last spring, the Orioles set a franchise record with 11 sellouts, drawing more than 119,000 fans over 16 home games. That figure is more than double the average Spring Training attendance at Ed Smith Stadium prior to the Orioles' arrival in Sarasota.
"As a company that has been doing business in the Sarasota community since 1989 and that consolidated our year-round training headquarters and complex here in 2010, we are proud of our record as a corporate leader in developing family entertainment and applying marketing expertise that drove home $89 million of annual economic impact in 2016 and at least $400 million in estimated impact over just the past seven years for Sarasota residents and taxpayers," said JOHN ANGELOS, Orioles Executive Vice President. "It is gratifying when independent, objective studies conducted through State and County efforts expertly verify the importance of the Orioles as the preeminent sports tourism industry leader in creating public return on investment from our private efforts at levels far exceeding all community expectations."
As a result of the unique and valuable tourism-focused media and promotional programs pioneered by the Orioles to support Visit Sarasota, the number of yearly first-quarter visitors from the Mid-Atlantic region has grown by more than 300% since 2009. In the first quarter of 2015, the Orioles were credited by Sarasota travel authorities for making history in yet another way, when the club's Sarasota 365 campaign catapulted the Orioles' Mid-Atlantic region to become the number one source of Sarasota tourism. In 2016, the Baltimore-Washington market generated the second most out-of-state visitors to Sarasota County, surpassed only by the New York City market.
"Through an aggressive, year-round, multi-platform marketing effort, the Orioles continue to drive tourists from the Mid-Atlantic to Sarasota County," said DAVID ROVINE, Vice President, Orioles-Sarasota. "And while we focus significant resources on tourism creation to drive economic return to taxpayers, the Orioles are even more focused on successfully providing local families, retirees, and young single residents with a year-round slate of high-value Major League and Minor League sports, arts and cultural events, and recreational, educational, civic, and philanthropic programming that has entertained nearly 550,000 visitors and local residents alike in just the past four years."
"The Orioles and Sarasota have created a unique partnership that produces an outstanding year-round impact and showcases the community as an ideal destination to millions annually," said Florida Sports Foundation President JOHN WEBB.
Since the Orioles moved Major League spring training operations to Sarasota in 2010, more than 765,000 fans have enjoyed Orioles Spring Training games at Ed Smith Stadium. Additionally, each year more than 25,000 participants and spectators visit the Orioles complex to participate in youth tournaments, baseball clinics, sports leagues, and other family-friendly and charitable events, which are professionally managed, supported, and frequently financially subsidized by the Orioles.
The attached infographic provides additional details about the year-round impact of the Orioles' Sarasota 365 initiatives through which the Orioles, MASN, and OriolesREACH demonstrate the ballclub's 365-day-a-year 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.