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8 Florida teams, with Yankees on top, surpass 100K in spring training attendance

  • By Mark Gordon
  • | 10:45 a.m. April 30, 2024
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
Jackson Holliday signs autographs for fans at Ed Smith Stadium before the Baltimore Orioles' Feb. 29 game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Jackson Holliday signs autographs for fans at Ed Smith Stadium before the Baltimore Orioles' Feb. 29 game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Photo by Ryan Kohn
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The New York Yankees — or at least their Florida fanbase — rule spring training. 

The team drew the most fans to Grapefruit League games in the 2024 spring training season, with an attendance mark of 158,927 at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, according to a report from the Florida Sports Foundation.

There are 15 teams in the Florida Grapefruit League, with 10 of those teams on the west coast of the state. Games were held from Feb. 24 through March 26. Total attendance, the foundation reports, was 1,428,096 people over 226 games, for an average of 6,319 per game — the highest total since the 2017 season.

There were eight rained-out games. The largest crowd for a single game happened Sunday, March 24, when 10,966 paid fans watched the Toronto Blue Jays play the Philadelphia Phillies at BayCare Ballpark in Clearwater. (The Phillies, playing in their longtime spring training home, beat the Blue Jays, who are based down the road in Pinellas County, in Dunedin, 2-0.)

Baltimore Orioles pitcher Cole Irvin.
Photo by Ryan Kohn

Other highlights from the 2024 Grapefruit League season, the foundation reports, include: 

  • The most attended day was Saturday, March 23 when 71,315 fans attended 11 games statewide.
  • The 2024 season closed out strong with an average attendance of more than 6,500 fans per game for the last seven days, between March 20-26. Per game attendances during those last seven days ranged between 6,500 and 8,100, per day. 
  • Eight of the 15 Florida Grapefruit League teams topped the 100,000 total attendance mark. All eight of those teams are on the west coast of Florida. 
  • The Philadelphia Phillies topped the 150,000 total attendance mark for the third time in team history and the first time since 2012.
  • The Minnesota Twins, which play in the Lee Health Sports Complex in Fort Myers, saw a 16% increase in average per game attendance, jumping from 6,060 fans per game in 2023 to 7,243 in 2024.
  • The Blue Jays established a record attendance for the second year in a row. Blue Jays fans topped the 100,000 mark for the first time in team history, after an attendance of 93,596 in 2023. The Blue Jays per game attendance average increased by over 13%. TD Ballpark in Dunedin hosted 101,549 fans at 15 games for an average of 6,770 per game.

The annual Major League Baseball pilgrimage to Florida for pre-season preparation dates back to the 1888 season when the Washington Nationals traveled south to Jacksonville for pre-season workouts. Since 2000, a total of 35,731,605 fans have attended spring training games in Florida.

Spring training attendance
TeamSpring Training LocationAverage per GameTotal Attendance
New York YankeesTampa 9,351158,972
Philadelphia Phillies Clearwater9,428150,850
Boston Red Sox Fort Myers8,653129,801
Minnesota TwinsFort Myers7,243115,882
Detroit TigersLakeland6,921110,737
Atlanta BravesNorth Port6,409102,543
Toronto Blue JaysDunedin6,770101,549
Baltimore OriolesSarasota 6,709100,629
Pittsburgh PiratesBradenton5,89294,271
Tampa Bay RaysPort Charlotte4,02052,265
Source: Florida Sports Foundation



Mark Gordon

Mark Gordon is the managing editor of the Business Observer. He has worked for the Business Observer since 2005. He previously worked for newspapers and magazines in upstate New York, suburban Philadelphia and Jacksonville.

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