Addressing a fan’s concerns in the Aug. 14 article about seeing rundown properties on the way into the city for Colts camp, Turner noted that the city has taken an aggressive approach to mowing overgrown lots.
Visitors bureau chief Tom Bannon, in another email, pointed out that the community visitors guide is available at camp and that a billboard along Scatterfield Road promotes the visitors bureau and community activities. As a major sponsor of Colts camp, the visitors bureau has a banner there promoting the website. In addition, the visitors bureau logo is on the Colts.com training camp page and the bureau has an ad in the Colts yearbook. Reaching farther, the visitors bureau took out an ad in a Fort Wayne newspaper promoting Colts camp and Anderson.
All of these efforts are important and generally well targeted. And if you go out to eat in Anderson or to Mounds Mall in the evening after a Colts practice, you’ll see folks in Colts jerseys who probably came from training camp — and you might see a Colts player or two, as well.
It’s difficult to estimate the economic impact of Colts camp. The city usually says $5 million-$6 million annually. The tracking of camp attendance isn’t an exact science, either, but an estimate of about 37,000 fans at camp this year probably isn’t far off.
Given the response of Colts fans in the recent article, we have to wonder if local officials should be more aggressive and find more ways to induce fans to explore the rest of the city. Colts camp ended Friday, but the team is expected to come back to Anderson for its 2 1/2-week training camp again next August.
How about Anderson promotional tents just outside each entrance to camp with large signs touting restaurant, hotel and retail coupons? Or how about a slate of appearances at various places in Anderson of former Colts players to sign autographs one hour after the conclusion of each practice? It would cost to bring the players in, but the resulting benefit for local merchants could be worth the price.