About 30,000 fans have already visited Westfield’s Grand Park Sports Campus for Indianapolis Colts training this year in the team's first year at the venue, according to the city, and more people are expected later this week when the Baltimore Ravens come to Westfield to practice and scrimmage with the team.
Already, the numbers at Grand Park through 14 public practices have surpassed summer camp attendance in 2016, when the Colts held camp at Anderson University for the last time. That year, 20,000 people attended the team’s 11 public practices.
Altogether, the Colts this year will host 18 practices, including the two joint practices with the Ravens.
The team will need a major final push to match the attendance it saw early in its seven-year stint in Anderson (2010-2016). The camp drew 85,000 fans in 2010 when the team held 16 public practices.
Tuesday marked the final evening practice for camp. The team is off Wednesday. Practice resumes Thursday afternoon. On Friday and Saturday, practices will include scrimmages with the Ravens.
In September, Westfield and the Indianapolis Colts announced the team’s annual training camp would move to Grand Park. As part of the deal to move to Westfield, the Colts will pay Grand Park—which is owned by the city of Westfield—$653,000 over 10 years to use the complex.
Colts training camp kicked off July 25 and runs through Saturday. The team billed this year's camp as the most fan-friendly training camp it has ever hosted. This year’s camp features Colts City—an interactive fan zone—as well as the Colts Play 60 Zone. The team also planned several themed days, including Friday Night Lights, when youth and high school football teams were invited to camp, and Armed Forces Day.
For 11 years (1999-2009), the Colts held training camp 70 miles southwest of Indianapolis at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute. Annual attendance there hovered around 28,000, according to Rose-Hulman officials.
In 2010, when the team moved camp to Anderson University, which is within 30 miles of Indianapolis' densely populated north side and fast-growing Hamilton County, annual training camp attendance more than tripled.
In the early years after the Anderson University move, over the 20 days of open practices, the camp drew an average of 6,000 fans on weekdays and 10,000 fans on weekends and for special practices.
After the seven-year run in Anderson, the Colts last season brought their training camp to the team training complex on Indianapolis’ west side. That decision, team officials said from the beginning, was a short-term move as the complex on West 56th Street doesn’t have room to accommodate fans.
One benefit to holding practices at Grand Park is the team’s ability to move both the team and fans inside for practices during inclement weather. At least a handful of practices this year were held inside, where 500 fans can be accommodated.