With tourism in a slump, the cities that host Major League Baseball’s “Cactus League” spring training teams are dealing with a continuing downturn in revenue as play begins in March. The revenue drop is not caused by attendance drop-offs, but by falling income from a 3.25 percent rental car fee that supports debt on Cactus League stadiums, according to The Bond Buyer.
Financial pressure is growing in the area of sports and tourism tax revenue, as Arizona is hoping to get an $84 million deal to keep the Chicago Cubs spring training facility in Mesa, Ariz.
Two public agencies, the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority and the Maricopa County Stadium District, issue bonds for the league’s stadiums, with some help from cities in the Phoenix area. Two Major League Baseball teams also play their spring training games in Tucson.
Julie Schweigert, director of the stadium district, said auto rental revenue is down sharply from last year, primarily due to drops in business and convention travel.