Familiar call: Play ball

Diablo Stadium a crowd pleaser, as always

- Advertisement -

Even minus nearly a dozen of its top performers and a few other minor complications, Tempe Diablo Stadium can still draw a crowd. Check out the numbers: Tempe Diablo and the familiar Los Angeles Angels organization saw nearly 110,000 fans in attendance during the 2023 spring training season, best numbers in a decade.

Despite Diablo having the smallest capacity of the other 10 Cactus League stadiums, seating only 9,558, it ranks seventh, with an average attendance of 7,292. Even more remarkable is that Tempe was able to top its attendance numbers without 10 players due to the World Baseball Classic, including MLB stars Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani.

Now, Diablo Stadium Manager Jerry Hall says the fans are excited to be back enjoying baseball again; he knew both Trout and Ohtani would miss part of the training season. However, Hall began to realize, it may not have been the stars that attracted the high attendance but the back-to-normalcy, something Tempe Diablo and fans missed for the last few seasons.

“So, in 2020,” said Hall, “we went almost all the way through; we lost about five games…“And, for 2021, we had the 15 games but we were only allowed to have 1,500 people in attendance at a time when people spread out all throughout the stadium. “And then, in 2022, there was the lockout and they came back, and we ended up playing six games, but that was at the very end of March. “And I think a lot of people didn’t want to make reservations for hotels and cars, and (at that time) they didn’t know they were going to be able to get tickets or what was allowed. “I think a lot of it had to do with just planning, like nobody knew when they were going to come out of the walkout.”

Now that all the dust has settled and there are no longer obstacles, fans flocked back for America’s favorite past-time in one of the pristine tourist cities, Tempe. The location and backdrop are a draw in the stadium’s success as well, says Hall. “The location along the I-10 freeway, stunning desert butte views and proximity to other stadiums in the area, just minutes from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport—it’s primed for welcoming visitors to the warmer spring Arizona climate.”

The location along Interstate-10 and short commute from Sky Harbor makes spring training at Tempe Diablo a breeze. In fact, roughly 80 percent of attendees this year live outside of Arizona, according to a survey conducted by Tremont Global. Some fans come straight from Sky Harbor or plan for flying out after the game, Hall says, and he and those at the stadium accommodate that situation by holding luggage, which is a “major advantage” over the competition.

“To have spring training right here in our backyard is such a tremendous benefit, not only for the locals who live here but also for the folks who get to experience Tempe as visitors,” said Tempe Mayor Corey Woods, adding his enthusiasm for the Diablo Stadium’s popularity. “And these travelers aren’t just attending games—they are also dining in local restaurants, staying in our hotels and spending dollars that get invested right back into our city.” Hall, who has been a city of Tempe employee for 25 years and has been working for Diablo Stadium for the last 17 years, allows him to work with Tempe events and the Angels organization.

Tempe Diablo hosts a number of charity and social events as well as athletic events outside of the MLB. “Obviously, high school baseball is one of our biggest things,” he said. “We knew that 2 1/2 weeks of the state championships is one reason why they like us, and because of our location as well. It’s this right the middle of everybody.”

Additionally, Tempe Diablo is the headquarters for National Adult Baseball Association and Men’s Senior Baseball League, which bring in players from across the globe. “From the end of September to the beginning of November, we’ll have close to 300 or 400 men’s teams playing in our stadium,” Hall said. “Most of them are out of state, from all over the country. Some come all the way from New York; we’ve had teams from the Netherlands come play, we’ve had teams from Australia, and from other places outside the country.”

Hall says that the stadium’s east parking lot isn’t just for business, but for community events such as the Sharing Walk for Down Syndrome, Best Buddies Friendship Walk, Arizona Truck Driving Championship and the World of Illumination during the holiday season. Diablo stadium’s prime location and its history—being the oldest in the Cactus league—has cemented itself as has been a staple for not only Tempe, but Arizona.

The Angels have called it home for the last 30 years and, fortunately, the city of Tempe and the Angels organization have signed a new agreement, securing Tempe as the Angels home through at least 2035. Officials of the involved entities have said that renovations, including a new clubhouse, outfield concourse and additional seating to better accommodate fans and entertainment, are also due to be undertaken as part of plans for improvement to the facility.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Latest e-Edition


Follow Us


Weekly Email Newsletter


Join Our Family...

Wrangler Newsletter

One email

Once a week

Unsubscribe anytime

Welcome to The Wrangler Community!