Anderson wants Colts Camp

February 6, 2009
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coltscampJust about every community within 50 miles of Indianapolis has made one pitch or another to attract the Indianapolis Colts’ annual pre-season training camp. The three-week camp brings hundreds of players and coaches and thousands of fans to the city or town, not to mention local, regional and national media following the team. The camp provides a healthy marketing bounce that almost any Indiana burg would be happy to have. Anderson officials said its studies show that each fan coming to training camp spends at least $75 in the host city. Direct visitor spending in the host city is estimated at $1.5 million to $2.5 million.

This week, Anderson made public its plans to wrestle the Colts’ camp away from Terre Haute. Anderson Economic Development Director Linda Dawson made no secret about the city’s plans to try to lure the camp, but wouldn’t divulge what sort of incentive package the city would present Colts brass this month, adding that Anderson didn’t want to tip its hand to competing municipalities.

Anderson University too is geared up for the battle. "We have a lot of good friends with the Colts organization," said school spokesman Chris Williams.

Colts Senior Executive Vice President Pete Ward and President Bill Polian declined to comment on where the team’s training camp might land. But sources close to the team said Polian is likely to announce his choice by the end of this month. The Colts’ camp will begin in late July.

Anderson University hosted the Colts camp for 15 years, until the team left for Terre Haute in 1998. AU has made big upgrades recently, including opening a large wellness center and adding artificial turf similar to that at Lucas Oil Stadium on its football field.

Terre Haute has every intention of trying to retain the Colts camp, but there are signs that competition for the pre-season event might get even more intense. The city of Franklin is amassing land on the east side of the city, and is said to be planning—in conjunction with Franklin College—construction of new athletic facilities, which could include a wellness center and football field. Those facilities will be perfect for growing the school’s athletic programs, but also would be more than adequate to catch the Colts’ eyes.
  • A bidding war for training camp. Wow. Seems logical to have it at Lucas Oil Stadium, where the city of Indianapolis has a fixed asset for the team. If the 3-week event has such an economic impact, it would seem to make sense. Besides, how many more fans would come out to see the team if they didn't have to drive to Terre Haute or Anderson.
  • The whole idea of training camp is to get the players out of their homes, away from their friends and to concentrate on football. It also is used as a tool to recruit fans which is one reason why they moved it to Terre Haute. It is a good distance away and starts to draw traditional Bears fans and Rams fans in the Evansville southern Illinois area.

    Lucas is not good for a couple of reasons. It is a multi use facility that will probably be used for other events during the several weeks long training camp. Why lock it up with the Colts for that time period when you can have thousands of people in for a convention during that time period. Also, they need at least two fields to practice on, Lucas only has one. Plus if you are trying to get the players away from distractions, plopping them in the middle of Indy does not seem to work.
  • Ok, then how about Butler? There have been significant upgrades to the Butler Bowl area and adding the Colts camp would seem like a good fit.
  • Again, since it is located in Indy, probably not going to happen. I would also doubt they would have the health facilities needed by the Colts. One of things RHI did to steal the camp away from Anderson was they upgraded all of their weight training and other facilities. I do not know what Butler has, but probably not the level the Colts want.
  • If you have seen the facilities at RHIT, then you would know why the Colts choose to hold camp in Terre Haute. For a small Division III school, the athletic complex is incredible, complete with Olympic size swimming pool and an outstanding weight room. There are several practice football field connected by walking trail right outside the athletic complex. Also, RHIT has opened a few brand new dorms with apartment style living quarters and all the modern amenities. Many colleges still have dorms that aren't even air conditioned. RHIT has invested serious $$$ in keeping the Colts happy. It will take a very serious contender to wrestle training camp away from that school.

    Maybe the fact that they don't have field turf will be a show stopper moving forward? My guess is that a very wealthy school like RHIT with serious financial horsepower would simply install the field turf if demanded by the Colts.

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