Hohokam Stadium became home to the A's in 2015, when the team's relocation to Mesa ended their 33-season tenure in Phoenix.
No new ballparks opened in 2015, but three looked a lot different than they had in the past courtesy of multi-million dollar renovations. Mesa's Hohokam Stadium, the Peoria Sports Complex and Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers all received major enhancements to their exteriors and much slighter changes within their respective confines. The upgrades were tied into lease extensions in Fort Myers (Twins) and Peoria (Mariners and Padres) while the Hohokam Stadium updates returned the A's to Mesa, where they had last trained in 1978.
The Cubs have been training in Mesa continuously since 1979 and 2015 marked their first year in Sloan Park, which opened in 2014 as simply Cubs Park. Named for a plumbing parts company that paid handsomely for the privilege, Sloan Park became only the second spring training ballpark in Arizona to ever sport a sponsored name and the venue's second season was even more record-breaking than its first, as 12 times the Cubs drew crowds that topped 15,000 (compared to six such occasions in 2014) and that enabled them to surpass the all-time attendance records the team set in 2014, as the Cubs' 2015 draw of 222,415 fans and a 14,828 per game average were 8,600 and 574 better than what had been the spring training ballpark historic highs of the year prior.
The largest crowd at Sloan Park during the 2015 season was 15,342 for the Cubs-White Sox game on March 27 and that match-up in Mesa of Chicago's two teams now holds the title of most ever tickets sold to an individual game at a spring training-specific ballpark.
Big crowds were often the norm elsewhere and enough tickets were collectively sold to all the games played in Arizona and Florida to top the 3½ million mark for the first time, as 3,531,150 fans paid to see 471 games in 26 stadiums. The average attendance for a spring training game in 2015 was 7,497.
In the Cactus League, 234 games were played by 15 teams in 11 ballparks. Total attendance was 1,916,374, an average of 8,190 per game. Just one game was rained out. Two of the league's games were played at the Diamondbacks' regular season home, Chase Field, and they contributed 31,025 fans to the 2015 Cactus League total, which also included 17,414 from the three exhibition games that one group of minor league players and two college teams played against MLB clubs.
In the Grapefruit League, 237 games were played by 15 teams in 15 ballparks. Total attendance was 1,614,776, an average of 6,813 per game. There were three rainouts. The Rays played one official spring training game at Tropicana Field and it drew 8,934, while another 27,357 were added to the final tally in Florida as that's how many tickets were sold to watch Major League squads take on collegiate/non-MLB teams in exhibitions at six spring training stadiums.
If strictly including only games played between the 30 MLB teams at the 24 spring training ballparks, then the combined total of fans to watch those 458 Cactus and Grapefruit League games was 3,446,420, with the per game average crowd for them 7,525. The Cactus League average was 8,157 (1,867,935 tickets sold to 229 games) and the Grapefruit League average was 6,893 (1,578,485 fans and also 229 games).
One place that didn't draw any spring training fans for the first time since it opened in 1964 was Phoenix Municipal Stadium, as the move to Mesa by the A's ended the Cactus League history of the stadium, which became the third in Arizona since 2011 to be abandoned for elsewhere. Previously, a spring training park in Arizona hadn't permanently been deserted by a MLB team since the Padres left Yuma's Desert Sun Stadium to relocate to Peoria in 1994.
2015 Attendance Rankings
(home games only, ranked by per game average)
At the conclusion of 2015, Graham Knight had been to spring training in Florida 17 times and had made 7 visits to Arizona for the same purpose. In 2009, he completed the hard to complete task of seeing a game in each of the 26 spring training ballparks in use that year by Cactus and Grapefruit League teams. He has seen multiple games in every current spring training ballpark and has visited the practice complexes used by each team. In addition to the ballpark guides he has written for this Web site, Knight has published the Arizona Spring Training Ballpark Guide and released a Florida edition for fans wanting the full lowdown on Grapefruit League ballparks.