About 40,000 tickets to the three World Baseball Classic games scheduled for Chase Field have been sold so far, but that hasn’t seemed to affect ticket sales at Cactus League parks. The 12-team Cactus League drew a record 1.27 million fans last year and this year should see similar numbers if advance ticket sales are any indication.
“Most (Cactus League stadiums) are at least on pace with last year and a few (stadiums) are even up,” Cactus League president J.P. de la Montaigne said. “There was so much unknown when (the World Baseball Classic) was first announced . . . but after discussing it with (Major League Baseball) we think it’s a good thing.”
The same goes for the 18-team Grapefruit League in Florida.
“I haven’t heard anyone say the World Baseball Classic has adversely affected sales,” Grapefruit League executive director David Caldwell told USA Today. “It’s almost like we’re going in parallel universes.”
Darrin Mitch, senior director of ticket operations for the Diamondbacks at Chase Field, said about 17,000 tickets have been sold for the March 7 game between the United States and Mexico. About 12,000 tickets have been sold to the March 8 game between the U.S. and Canada and to the March 9 game between Mexico and Canada.
Kevin Graves, ticket manager for the Giants at Scottsdale Stadium, said only lawn seats remain for the March 10 game between the U.S. and South Africa but that “a fairly significant number of tickets” remain for the March 7 game between Canada and South Africa and the March 8 game between Mexico and South Africa.
Mitch said he expects a sizeable walk-up crowd for games involving Mexico, as walk-up sales have accounted for a large number of tickets sold for Mexican soccer exhibitions at Chase Field.
In any case, Mitch said the World Baseball Classic and Cactus League spring training were not competing against one another for fans’ dollars.
“I haven’t heard of anything like that,” he said. “I think this is such a unique opportunity for people to witness. It’s an addition to spring training instead of an opponent.”