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The Detroit Tigers extend their spring training commitment to Lakeland through 2036

Jul 18, 2014, 1:25 PM EST

Joker

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.

  1. Detroit Michael - Jul 18, 2014 at 1:39 PM

    The Tigers have held spring training in Lakeland FL since 1934 except for three years during World War II, when it was held in Evansville, IN. I believe that Commissioner Landis restricted teams from traveling too far south during WWII, although that seems a bit odd now.

  2. bronco58lb - Jul 18, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    I wondered about the future of the Tigers in Lakeland because the Central/Northeast Florida teams have the worst travel situation in the Grapefruit League.

    It’s no secret the Astros (Kissimmee) and Nationals (Viera) have been negotiating for a move south to the Palm Beach area, which would leave the Braves in a precarious situation in Lake Buena Vista.

    The Tigers-Braves-Astros-Nationals have a B game relationship with one another and the 45-60 min. trips aren’t exactly the Cactus League variety. But it’s good to see the Tigers side with tradition and their relationship with the town and not make location the overriding factor like many teams do in the Cactus League.

  3. bronco58lb - Jul 18, 2014 at 1:51 PM

    The Tigers are close enough to Tampa/St. Pete where they’re not entirely dependent on the future of the Nationals, Astros and Braves. However, had the Tigers left Lakeland, that would have accelerated the moves of the Astros and Nationals out of the area. Central/Northeast Florida has been losing teams since the departure of the Reds (Plant City) and Indians (Winter Haven).

  4. bronco58lb - Jul 18, 2014 at 2:08 PM

    The Twins were once in Orlando and the Royals were in Baseball City too.

  5. Minoring In Baseball - Jul 19, 2014 at 12:25 AM

    Good news for the Tigers and city of Lakeland aka Tiger Town. I would love to make the trip to see spring training or the Flying Tigers play.

    http://minoringinbaseball.com/

  6. zdravit - Jul 20, 2014 at 5:58 PM

    Baseball will be dead by then.

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