Spring training, House Bill 5601: State budget could include millions for Florida spring training

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- A multimillion-dollar state deal geared at keeping spring training in the Florida could pop up in final budget negotiations.

Part of House Bill 5601 involves spending tens of millions of dollars on a facility that could bring the Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros to Palm Beach Gardens.

State lawmakers are trying to keep the 15 teams in Florida's Grapefruit League from leaving for Arizona's Cactus League.

According to Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers, six teams have left for Arizona since 1998. Three teams in Florida have leases ending in 2016.

If the bill becomes law, the state would spend $20 million over 30 years for facilities hosting one team, and $40 million over that same time frame for stadiums housing two teams.

Local governments would have to match that spending.

Right now, there are only a handful of teams on the east coast. Some have contracts that state if there are less than three teams nearby, then they can leave the area.

Lawmakers are trying to avoid that, adding that spring training brings millions of dollars of revenue to Florida each year.

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