Following reports of an agreement between NFL players and owners, an Indianapolis Colts spokesman confirmed Monday that training camp will start on time Aug. 1.
Roper said he was following reports coming from the NFL network, but had to wait for a statement from the league office.
It’s welcome news for Anderson University and businesses around the city, who reaped from the increase in traffic during Colts camp last year.
“It was really sad thinking that they were not going to have it (camp),” Katrina Fleming said, manager at Garfield’s Restaurant at Mounds Mall.
Last year’s camp attracted around 85,000 fans, and city officials estimated it brought $6.4 million to local businesses.
“You just don’t get that every week,” Mounds Mall marketing director Braun Roosa said,
Roosa said he hopes to capitalize on the increased traffic, and said stores like Squeeze Play that sell Colts merchandise will likely see a bump in sales.
With high temperatures expected throughout camp, Roosa said he is also mindful of offering visitors an escape from the heat.
“We want to guarantee you can come to the mall on a hot day,” Roosa said.
Roosa said the mall is also offering free parking for the event, but not transportation.
Though confirmation for camp wasn’t made until Monday, Anderson University spokesman Chris Williams said the university has been preparing since the beginning of the summer.
“We’re thrilled to welcome the Colts back to Anderson University, and to Anderson,” Williams said.
While Williams said the university prepared as if there would be training camp, the lockout halted early promotion of the camp. Last year Anderson University advertised a countdown to Colts camp on the digital sign in front of Mounds Mall. Due to the uncertainty of camp, they could not start the countdown until Monday.
With less than a week before camp starts, Williams said he will be working to get the word out about camp. Late Monday afternoon the university launched its Colts camp page, where fans can get a parking map, camp schedule, as well as links to their Twitter account (blue@au). [Photo on right: Rick Hardin of Nussli of Mooresville, looks down the line of framework for bleachers to see that they are lined up and level as he and his co-workers assemble temporary seating at Anderson University in preparation for the upcoming Colts camp.]
“Social media will be on fire,” Roosa said.
Even with less time to promote and advertise, Roosa said he doesn’t expect attendance to be affected.
“It’s been in the news the last four months, people are aware of what’s going on with the lockout,” Roosa said.
Soon after the end of the lockout was announced, staff hung Colts banners around the restaurant, Fleming said.
“We’re definitely excited,” Fleming said.
—Sam Brattain is a reporter for The Herald Bulletin. Story republished with permission.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2010, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the seventh consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.