VIERA — This time of year you might not be thinking about baseball, but that’s just what leaders in one local community are doing.
Spring training for the Grapefruit League gets underway next month and tickets are on sale right now. That’s why In Brevard County, the new county commission chairman is making it a top priority to keep teams coming there.
It’s no secret, the Washington Nationals, who were the National League East Champs last year, want out of Space Coast Stadium. Even as the county invests on repairing the aging stadium, the Nationals have shopped around the idea of moving to other parts of Florida.
The reason? Not enough teams are close to them and travel costs are mounting up. The new chairman of the Brevard County Commission, Andy Anderson, said he plans to meet with the Nationals later this month to try and work out a deal to keep them here. He said he wants to invest more of the county’s tourism tax dollars into the team and the stadium. He said he even wants to look at bringing more teams to the Space Coast.
“You look in Arizona, on how they set up their spring training and having the multi-team facilities, really works for major league baseball, and so we’re going to go out and investigate everything. And if there is a spring training team that’s not happy in their situation outside of Florida, we’re going to make it attractive to them in Brevard County,” Anderson said.
The Nationals help bring millions to Brevard County every year.
An economic study commissioned by county tourism leaders is expected to be released this month with detailed figures.
The first game of the season is at home against the Miami Marlins on Sunday, Feb. 24. The Nationals said ticket sales are already brisk and so far just season tickets are on sale.
Group sales begin Friday and single day tickets go on sale next week and they expect there to be a line here.
The Nationals have a contract with the county to use the stadium until 2017 but penalties are reduced after 2013 if they want to break that lease.