Luring the Baltimore Orioles to Sarasota for spring training has been a good investment for tourism officials, as fans are coming down to Florida from the mid-Atlantic region in droves.
Inquiries from that area grew 2.2 percent in 2009, 6.4 percent in 2010 and 7.3 percent last year during the January through March time period, the bureau said.
Visitors from the area rose 44 percent from 2009 to 2010, coinciding with the Orioles arrival at Ed Smith Stadium, and 6.9 percent from 2010 to 2011.
The Orioles promote Sarasota County during radio and television broadcasts of spring training games played in Southwest Florida and during all the team's 162 regular season Major League Baseball games.
Nice investment for Sarasota to fix up Ed Smith Stadium. The Orioles were a pretty lame draw in Fort Lauderdale and not taken seriously as a spring-training attraction, but the combination of Orioles promotions and the renovations to the ballpark certainly provided an economic lift for the area.
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