There aren’t many teams holding spring training in the same place they did a decade ago. There are hardly any teams holding spring training in the same place they did 20 years ago. The Tigers, however, are quite an exception. They’ve been training in Lakeland, Florida since 1934. And today they announced a deal with the city of Lakeland which will keep them there until at least 2036.
The deal anticipates a $37 million commitment for capital improvements to the Joker Marchant Stadium and Tigertown Complex. It’ll be paid for via a bond issue, the State of Florida’s Spring Training Retention Program, the Polk County Tourist Development Council and money provided directly from both the Tigers and the City of Lakeland. The press release claims that the Tigers and their single-A team, the Lakeland Flying Tigers, provide the area with a combined $63 million in economic benefits annually.
Who knows if that claimed benefit is accurate, but there is no escaping that the relationship between Lakeland and the Tigers is about the strongest between any spring training site and a major league team in existence. Now it’ll be ensured to pass the century mark.