Flagstaff and NAU officials are waiting to hear final word on whether or not the Arizona Cardinals football team will move their summer training camp to Glendale. Negotiations have been ongoing between team owners and officials in Flagstaff.
For most of the past 23 years, the team has practiced in Flagstaff during the summer months, staying on the campus of NAU, utilizing the fields and other facilities at Northern Arizona University, and infusing money into the Flagstaff economy.
A statement was issued by the Office of Public Affairs at the University. “Northern Arizona University, in partnership with Flagstaff, made an extraordinary offer and worked diligently to negotiate with the team,” said NAU President John Haeger. “We expect to receive official notice from the team at any time.”
Haeger said the proposal—prepared with the city of Flagstaff, the Economic Collaborative of Northern Arizona and Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce—kept the Cardinals rates flat for housing, food and other incidentals, carrying over prices from its 2009-12 contract.
“We are committed to offering the same high level of service to the Cardinals and their fans and being a part of one of the team’s longest-standing traditions since it moved to Arizona,” Haeger said. “If the team announces it will not return, the university will immediately begin planning other uses for our facilities that assure both revenue for the community and support for our academic mission.”
An economic study conducted in 2010 by NAU’s office of Arizona Rural Policy Institute, the direct financial impact of the Cardinals Training Camp was $6,711,600. In addition to these monies, the multiplier effect of revenues was higher, with local businesses paying taxes and wages, as well as purchasing supplies from other businesses.
Speculation continues today, as options are considered. If the Cardinals leave Flagstaff for Glendale, other teams or events could take their place, continuing to bring visitors to the mountain campus. Sports Illustrated listed NAU as the hidden gem of NFL camps. The magazine listed Flagstaff in the top three NFL training locations, citing the town’s pine trees, San Francisco Peaks, and high altitude as some of its best characteristics.