Lake Buena Vista, FL - Governor Charlie Crist today welcomed the 2010 Baseball Winter Meetings to Florida during today’s awards luncheon. During the meetings, Minor League Baseball and Major League Baseball plan for the 2011 season and honor the achievements of the past year. Governor Crist applauded Major and Minor League Baseball’s economic contributions to the Sunshine State.
“I thank Minor League Baseball and Major League Baseball for choosing our state as the location for the annual tradition of the winter meetings,” Governor Crist said. “Professional baseball means nearly $1 billion annually to Florida’s economy, and this event puts a nice ending to a year that saw the economic outlook brighten.”
Governor Crist, who once served as general counsel for the Minor League Baseball, has worked to strengthen professional baseball’s presence in Florida. In 2008, he revived the annual Governor’s Baseball Dinner after more than a decade. Historically held prior to the beginning of the Florida spring training season, the Governor’s Baseball Dinner has honored the Major League Baseball clubs, and their Minor League affiliates, who hold spring training or play year-round in Florida. For the past three years, the dinner was held at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.
Florida is home to two Major League Baseball clubs year round, and 13 other Major League teams hold their spring training in Florida. In addition, 28 Minor League clubs call Florida home. A recent study commissioned by the Florida Sports Foundation revealed a $752-million annual impact on Florida’s economy from Major League spring training. The same study also reported spring training supported or created more than 9,200 part-time or full-time jobs.
In addition to the longstanding benefit from baseball’s impact on Florida’s economy, the Sunshine State will also host more post-season college football bowl games than any other state. Last season, total attendance for the six games was 348,208. This season, the six games include the following:
· St. Petersburg, December 21 – Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl, Southern Mississippi v. Louisville
· Orlando, December 28 – Champs Sports Bowl, West Virginia v. NC State
· Orlando, January 1 – Capital One Bowl, Alabama v. Michigan State
· Tampa, January 1 – Outback Bowl, Florida v. Penn State
· Jacksonville, January 1 – Gator Bowl, Mississippi State v. Michigan
· Miami, January 3 – Discover Orange Bowl, Stanford v. Virginia Tech