Baltimore Orioles generate $97 million in annual economic impact in Sarasota County

Increasing year-over-year growth in that figure confirmed by independent research undertaken for Sarasota County

The Orioles’ mascot, Bird, stands under the ‘chandelier’ in Ed Smith Stadium. File photo

The economic impact of the Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota has continued to grow year-over-year to approximately $97 million, according to an independent analysis commissioned by Sarasota County.

“The annual economic impact delivered to taxpayers and residents results from 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,” a news release explains.

“In the eight years since the Orioles moved Major League Spring Training to Sarasota, more than 885,000 fans have enjoyed Orioles games at Ed Smith Stadium” in Sarasota, the news release points out.

The Orioles’ $97-million figure is a record for sports tourism creation in Sarasota County, “far surpassing any current or past sports facility or private sports operator,” the release emphasizes. The Orioles’ current impact is nearly three times the $35-million mark the Orioles projected in testimony given before the Florida State Senate in 2004 and the Sarasota County Commission in 2009, prior to the team’s relocation to Sarasota for Spring Training, the release notes.

A graphic points to facets of the Orioles’ economic impact on Sarasota County. Image courtesy Sarasota County

The analysis, conducted by Research & Marketing Strategies Inc., measured the total tourism impact created by the Orioles and its effects on the residents and taxpayers of Sarasota County, the release says. The ball club generates economic impact in the following ways, the release adds:

  • 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 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, cultural 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 weekend; and youth baseball tournaments held for tens of thousands of tourists and Sarasota County families.
  • Sarasota 365 marketing and promotion campaign executed by the Orioles to benefit Sarasota County’s Visit Sarasota tourism agency. The Orioles use their television, digital, social media and radio platforms, along with events at Camden Yards in Baltimore, to drive fans based in the Mid-Atlantic “to vacation in, invest in, and retire to Sarasota County,” the release says.

The Orioles’ results have been bolstered by record attendance at Spring Training games over the past few seasons, the release points out. Last spring, the Orioles drew 119,742 fans for 17 home games in Sarasota, marking the second-highest spring attendance in club history, the release adds. The total was second only to the 120,455 mark set in 2013 and more than double the average Spring Training attendance at Ed Smith Stadium prior to the Orioles’ arrival in Sarasota, the release notes.

“The entire Orioles organization takes pride in [this] announcement by state and county government recognizing our company’s creation in a single year of $97 million in economic impact benefiting local taxpayers,” said John Angelos, the Orioles’ executive vice president, in the release. “As Sarasota County’s preeminent sports tourism generator, the club has created more than $500 million and counting in public return on investment during just the first eight years of our training facility’s operation,” he added in the release, “and our commitment to producing year-round Major and Minor League Baseball games, world class arts and cultural events, and year-round youth training and family recreational programming in the Sarasota community remains unwavering.”

As a result of the tourism-focused media and promotional programs “pioneered by the Orioles to support Visit Sarasota,” the release says, “the number of yearly first-quarter visitors from the Mid-Atlantic region to Sarasota County has grown by more than 300% since 2009.” In the first quarter of 2015, Visit Sarasota County credited the team for making history in yet another way, the release continues: The club’s Sarasota 365 campaign “catapulted the Orioles’ Mid-Atlantic region to become the number one source of Sarasota tourism.”

In 2017, the Baltimore-Washington market generated the second-highest number of out-of-state visitors to Sarasota County, surpassed by only the New York City market, the release points out.

For more information on the Orioles’ year-round activities at Ed Smith Stadium and the Buck O’Neil Baseball Complex, visit