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AZ Week Notebook entry


Tucson will be without spring training baseball this year for the first time in more than six decades.

Local economists estimated that when the city had three teams, just two years ago, their presence helped pump $30 million into the economy.

All three teams are gone now, lost to bigger, better and newer ballparks and other incentives in the Phoenix area.

Sherry Henry, executive director of the Arizona Office of Tourism, said this week she believes Tucson officials will use their creativity to replace the economic impact. She mentioned talks with professional baseball organizations in Japan and Korea and an alliance with the San Diego Padres AAA minor league team, to be known at least this coming season as the Tucson Padres.

No announcements have been made about foreign teams coming to Tucson, and the Padres are scheduled to be here for just this year, awaiting the construction of a new facility in suburban San Diego.

The $30 million in losses to the economy is a small amount, about one-tenth of 1 percent of Pima County's GDP.

But because the save baseball movement involved a cadre of recognizable Tucson business and civic leaders, from elected officials to leaders of the Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, it's a blow to the collective ego that their efforts fell short.

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About AZ Week Notebook

News and commentary from Arizona Week producer/host Michael Chihak and interns Melanie Huonker and Lucy Valencia.

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spring-training Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce